Senate OKs certification of specialty courts

LANSING (AP) — Bills advancing in Michigan’s Legislature would require that special problem-solving courts receive state certification to operate.

The courts are designed to address criminals’ underlying substance abuse or mental health issues so they do not reoffend.

Policymakers say the legislation is needed so Michigan has a more consistent and effective approach for the courts and defendants. Under the bills approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, specialty courts would have to be certified by the State Court Administrative Office starting in January.

The office currently offers recommendations, but the courts are under no mandate to adopt them.

The legislation will go to the House for consideration next.