Life-saving mental health courts receive nearly $5.2 million from Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) announced Oct. 8 during National Mental Illness Awareness Week that $5.19 million has been awarded to fund the operation of 31 mental health courts in FY 2019. Extensive follow-up analysis shows that graduates of such 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 findings in the FY 2017 MSC report, “Solving Problems, Saving Lives:”

• Unemployment among mental health court graduates was cut by more than half.

• Nearly 100% of juvenile mental health court graduates improved their education level.

• Nearly 100% of graduates (adult and juvenile) reported improved mental health, and nearly 100% reported an improved overall quality of life.

Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court was one of the mental health courts receiving a grant. MSC also provides these courts with operational support and resources, including a 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. They are tracked as part of a broader performance measures initiative for courts, used to target areas for improvement.

To see a full list of grant recipients, read individual “success stories” and/or view State Court Administrator Milton Mack’s policy paper on decriminalization of mental illness visit courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/

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