Daily Briefs

Annual report: Problem-solving courts continue to show success

The Michigan Supreme Court last Friday announced the publication of the FY 2021 Problem-Solving Courts Annual Report, highlighting the success of 203 problem-solving courts (PSCs) across Michigan from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. In particular, the report shows that 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. Also worth noting during Alcohol Awareness Month, 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.

“There is a reason problem-solving court judges describe these programs as ‘transformative,’ ‘effective,’ and ‘life-changing.’ These courts, and the judges and the professional teams who work so hard to make them successful, truly turn people’s lives around,” said Justice Elizabeth T. Clement, who serves as the court’s PSC liaison. “This report outlines the successes in terms of data and analysis, but there is a real human benefit that is priceless and impossible to quantify.” 

Other report findings:

• 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 focus on providing treatment and intense supervision to offenders as an alternative to incarceration. These include drug and sobriety, mental health, veterans, and other nontraditional courts. The Supreme Court, through its State Court Administrative Office, assists trial court judges in the management of these courts. 

In addition, the Supreme Court has issued the FY 2021 Annual Report of the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program (SSSPP), which focuses on high-risk probationers. The report shows that SSSPP graduates are less likely to commit further offenses than standard probationers within three years of admission to a program.

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