55th District Court celebrates Sobriety Court graduation as Michigan Supreme Court issues annual Problem-Solving Court Annual Report

Mason– Chief Judge Donald L. Allen Jr. is pleased to announce the most recent graduation of the 55th District Court Sobriety Court. While the program remained operational throughout the pandemic, this is the first graduation ceremony to be held in the new Ingham County Justice Complex.

Judge Allen presides over the program. “Our Sobriety Court continues to be a win-win situation, proving rehabilitation effectively protects the community, saves significant taxpayer money, and returns citizens to productive lives,” Judge Allen stated. “We are very proud of our program, our participants, and of the community support we consistently receive. The long term success of Sobriety Court is based upon close supervision of probationers by an interdisciplinary team dedicated to the safety of our community.”

With this ceremony, the program marks 795 successful graduates since becoming operational in 2004. According to research conducted by the Michigan Supreme Court, the 55th District Court Sobriety Court consistently outperforms similar programs in Michigan, with higher graduation and lower recidivism rates.

The graduation coincides with the release of the Michigan Supreme Court’s FY 2022 Problem-Solving Courts Annual Report, tracking the progress and highlighting the success of 207 problem-solving courts (PSCs) across Michigan from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. Ingham County is fortunate enough to have both a Sobriety Court and Mental Health Court, programs that support justice-involved individuals in our community by helping them overcome underlying issues such as substance abuse disorder and mental illness.

“Problem-solving courts exemplify how we are working to increase public trust and confidence in the judiciary through collaboration and compassion—an overarching goal of our Michigan Judicial Council,” said Justice Kyra H. Bolden, the PSC liaison for the Supreme Court. “What struck me the most about this report is that these pages are not just filled with numbers and milestones; they are filled with hope and humanity.”

Key report findings:

• Michigan’s adult drug and sobriety programs grew from 98 programs in FY 2018 to 109 programs in FY 2022.

• Graduates of adult drug court programs were, on average, more than 3 times less likely to be convicted of a new offense within three years of admission to a program.

• Sobriety court graduates who used an ignition interlock device were nearly 5 times less likely to be convicted of a new offense within three years of admission.

• On average, mental health court (MHC) graduates—adult and juvenile—were nearly 2 times less likely to commit another crime within three years of admission to a program.

• Unemployment among adult circuit MHC graduates dropped by 81 percent.

• Average 99 percent improvement in mental health and 95 percent quality of life improvement.

Problem-solving courts focus on providing treatment and intense supervision to participants as an alternative to incarceration. The Supreme Court, through its State Court Administrative Office, assists trial court judges in management of these courts by providing training, education, operational standards, monitoring, certification requirements, and funding.