Daily Briefs

Probation supervision programs in courts statewide to receive more than $3 million

Justice Joan Larsen announced last week that the Michigan Supreme Court has awarded more than $3 million to 23 courts statewide to fund the operation of intense probation supervision programs. The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program (SSSPP) targets high-risk felony offenders with a history of probation violations or failures. Follow-up analysis shows that participants in these programs are less likely to reoffend and more likely to find a job and improve their quality of life. 

“Where other ‘probation-as-usual’ programs might have not worked for certain individuals, the swift and sure model promptly imposes graduated sanctions for probation violations, which sets up participants to successfully complete their probation, once and for all,” said Justice Larsen, who made the announcement in Ingham County’s 30th Circuit Court during a graduation of three SSSPP participants. “The funding for these programs is vital to the courts and dedicated judges that operate them 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:

• Swift and Sure program graduates were 36 percent less likely to re-offend, as compared to the probation-as-usual group.

• Fifty-one percent of those who entered a program unemployed became gainfully employed, either part- or full-time, upon completion of a program.

• Participants had a lower percentage of jail sentences (13.7 percent) than the probation-as-usual group (21.6 percent).

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

While they are not considered problem-solving courts because they do not require enrollment in treatment programs for substance abuse or mental health disorders, SSSPP performance is tracked by the Supreme Court, along with that of problem-solving courts, 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.


Education Law Writing Competition open to law students in Mich.

Students enrolled at any Michigan law school can compete to win $500 cash or a $1,250 scholarship to an education law conference by writing a 1,500-word client letter as part of the Michigan Education Law Writing Competition. The second place entrant will win a $250 cash prize. Honorable mentions will also be awarded.

The client letter is based on a hypothetical situation involving a biologically male high school student who identifies as female. She is seeking to use the women’s restroom and locker facilities at her public high school, as well as compete on the women’s track team. Participants are asked to choose a client in this situation and write a letter analyzing the relevant issues.

“We’re excited for the second year of this competition. We had great entries last year, and look forward to seeing more outstanding work from law students in our state,” said Kristi Bowman, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at MSU Law.

Contest entries are due by noon on Oct. 24.

More information, including competition rules and scoring criteria, is available on the contest’s website: http://law.msu.edu/edlaw.writingcomp