Judge: Report shows court is highly effective

A recent report shows that Macomb County Circuit Court’s Adult Drug Court is “making a difference,” according to Chief Judge James M. Biernat.

“It is very rewarding for us to know that we truly are helping participants get their lives back on track for their own benefit and for the safety of our community in reducing recidivism,” said Biernat, who along with Judge Jennifer Faunce preside over the drug court docket.

In the report issued last month by the State Court Administrative  Office (SCAO), the county’s Adult Drug Court was evaluated for recidivism rates in 2014. 

The evaluation used case data from circuit court to compare drug court graduates with a similar group of comparison members.

The data showed that, two years after admission to the program, only 3.4 percent of the drug court graduates reoffended with any new conviction, compared to 14.4 percent of the comparison cases that did not complete the drug court program. 

The statewide average showed 8.5 percent of circuit court drug court graduates had a new offense, compared to 17.9 percent of comparison groups that did not complete a drug court

Additionally, four years after admission, only 11 percent of drug court graduates reoffended with a new conviction, compared to 29 percent or the comparison group.

The Macomb County Circuit Court Adult Drug Court was implemented in 2003 with Judge James M. Biernat, Sr. and Judge Deborah Servitto. 

Judges Diane Druzinski and John Foster also served as drug court judges. 

Biernat said the judges and their staff members, along with Drug Court Coordinator Christina Wohlfield and Court Services Director Lisa Ellis, “devote a great deal of time to making the program a success.”

He expressed his gratitude to the SCAO, the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and County Executive Mark Hackel “for their continued support of our treatment court programs.”

The SCAO announced last month that nearly $14 million had been awarded to 122 courts statewide — several of them in Macomb County — to fund the operation of drug, DWI, mental health and veterans treatment court programs.


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