Problem-solving courts granted nearly $17 million

The Michigan Supreme Court recently announced that the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) has awarded nearly $17 million in grants for Fiscal Year 2023 to problem-solving court (PSC) programs statewide, including drug and sobriety, mental health, and veterans treatment courts. Data have consistently shown that these specialized programs contribute to less repeat crime, lower unemployment rates, and improved quality of life of graduates.

“Our 204 problem-solving courts would not be able to change lives and strengthen communities across the state without the help of state and federal grant programs, so we are grateful for this vital investment,” said new Chief Justice Elizabeth T. Clement, who serves as the MSC liaison to problem-solving courts. “These programs do our state proud by helping justice-involved individuals who are struggling while saving taxpayer dollars; it really is the best of both worlds.”

PSC grant totals and recipients by court type:

• Drug/Sobriety Courts $10,568,643 

• Mental Health Courts $5,310,970 

• Veterans Treatment Courts $1,059,199 

Key findings in the FY 2021 PSC Annual Report include:

• Graduates of adult drug court programs were, on average, more than 4 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 more than 5 times less likely to be convicted of a new offense within three years of admission.

• Within five years of admission, graduates of all types of drug courts were, on average, more than 2 time less likely to reoffend.

• Unemployment dropped by 91 percent for adult drug court graduates, 82 percent for sobriety court graduates, and 79 percent for hybrid court (drug/sobriety) graduates.

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

• Unemployment among adult circuit MHC graduates dropped by 78 percent.

• Average 99 percent improvement in mental health and 97 percent quality of life improvement.

• Graduates of veterans treatment courts (VTCs) in FY 2021 were nearly 2 times less likely to reoffend within three years of admission to a program.

• Unemployment dropped by 81 percent among VTC graduates.

• Michigan remains a national leader with 27 VTCs.

Problem-solving courts are nontraditional programs that focus on nonviolent offenders whose underlying issues, such as a substance use disorder or mental health diagnosis, have contributed to recurring involvement with the criminal justice system. In addition to funding, SCAO also provides these courts with operational support and resources, state certification, and training. 

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