Mental health courts receive nearly $5.2M from Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court recently announced, during National Mental Illness Awareness Week, that $5.19 million has been awarded to fund the operation of 31 mental health courts in Fiscal Year 2019. Extensive follow-up analysis shows that graduates of mental health courts statewide were nearly two times less likely to commit another crime two years after completing a program.

“A big thank you to mental health court judges and staff, and congratulations to the graduates of these life-saving courts. I am so proud of you all,” said Justice Elizabeth Clement, MSC liaison to problem-solving courts. “Through treatment, community support, and strict supervision, these courts are making sure graduates can get the help they need, take care of their families, and build stronger communities.”

Additional mental health court findings in the FY 2017 MSC report “Solving Problems, Saving Lives” include:

• Unemployment among mental health court graduates was cut by more than half.
• Nearly 100 percent of juvenile mental health court graduates improved their education level.
• Nearly 100 percent of graduates (adult and juvenile) reported improved mental health.
• Nearly 100 percent of graduates (adult and juvenile) reported an improved overall quality of life.

In addition to funding, the Supreme Court provides these courts with operational support and resources, including a newly-updated manual on state certification requirements and educational programming.

Problem-solving courts are nontraditional programs that focus on nonviolent offenders whose underlying medical and social problems have contributed to recurring contacts with the criminal justice system. Performance of problem-solving courts is tracked 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.

To learn about “success stories” from Michigan problem-solving courts, visit https://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Pages/Success-Stories-in-Michigan-Courts.aspx.

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