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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Michigan's "problem-solving" courts are reducing crime, report says

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Graduates of Michigan's drug, sobriety, and mental health courts are substantially less likely to commit another crime, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Court spokesman John Nevin says problem-solving courts divert select non-violent offenders into intensive treatment and supervision for underlying problems like addiction and mental illness.

"They are coming into these courts; they're getting the support and treatment they need; and they're coming back in front of the judge on a regular basis to say that they're going to treatment," Nevin said. "If you solve the problem, then you don't get that offender back into the system."

According to the report, within two years after admission to any type of drug court, graduates were 56 percent less likely to be convicted of a new offense, and 50 percent had improved their employment status.

Nevin said the report shows that the approach of problem-solving courts results in less incarceration and substantial savings for taxpayers. 

"Problem-solving courts make a difference in the lives of families statewide," said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly. "Graduate by graduate, these courts are strengthening families and building stronger communities."

Michigan has 164 drug, sobriety, veterans, mental health, and other nontraditional courts, according to the report. Nevin says Michigan with 22 veterans courts has more than any other state.