Mental health courts statewide to get more than $4 million in grants

The Michigan Supreme Court announced recently that more than $4 million has been awarded to 28 courts statewide to fund the operation of mental health courts.  Instead of costly incarceration, these problem-solving courts closely supervise offenders who are required to enroll in treatment.  Extensive follow-up analysis shows that participants in these courts are far less likely to reoffend and much more likely to find a job and improve their quality of life.

“Individuals with mental illness regularly come into contact with the criminal justice system, and they account for a startling number of prison inmates. But mental health courts are working to change this by offering alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders,” said Justice Joan Larsen, who is the MSC liaison to problem-solving courts. “The funding from these grant programs is vital to Michigan’s mental health courts because it enables them to continue doing what they do best: saving lives, saving money, strengthening families, and building stronger communities.”

The most recent MSC Problem-Solving Court Report, “Solving Problems, Saving Lives,” shows that:

• Graduates of Michigan mental health courts are two times less likely to commit another offense after two years.

• Unemployment among mental health court graduates was cut by 61.6 percent.

• Ninety-nine percent of mental health court graduates improved their mental health; 97 percent of graduates improved their quality of life.

Four of the courts that received grants are regional courts, which means they include two or more counties—or courts—crossing jurisdictional lines to provide treatment services to offenders under strict court supervision. As the second state in the nation to establish regional mental health courts, Michigan is a national leader in increasing access and improving efficiency.

The process of awarding the grants is highly competitive and funding is limited. 

The grant announcement coincides with the observance of National Recovery Month which is held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Performance of problem-solving courts is tracked as part of a broader performance measures initiative to monitor court performance statewide.  Data collected is used to identify and share best practices and to target areas that need improvement.

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For additional information about these grant programs, visit www.courts.mi.gov/pscgrants.  
 

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