Mental health courts receive more than $5M in grants

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kurtis T. Wilder announced recently that more than $5.1 million has been awarded to 32 mental health court programs statewide.

Wilder made the announcement at the kick-off of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Mental Health Court (EUPMHC) in Manistique.

The new regional court will provide services to residents in Alger, Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac, and Schoolcraft counties and include the district and circuit courts in the region.
Instead of costly incarceration, mental health courts partner with local community mental health agencies to divert participants from costly incarceration into court-supervised treatment, according to court officials.

Follow-up analysis shows that participants in such courts are far less likely to reoffend, according to Wilder.

The number of mental health courts statewide has grown from nine in 2013 to 33 today. 

“From my own experience as a trial court judge, I know that jail doesn’t solve a mental health problem, treatment does, so I commend all the local partners who have worked so hard to launch this court,” said Wilder. “Funding for these programs all across Michigan will allow them to continue to save lives, save money, strengthen families, and build stronger communities.”  

The most recent MSC Problem-Solving Court Report, “Solving Problems, Saving Lives,”  shows that:

• Graduates of Michigan mental health courts are almost two times less likely to commit another offense after two years.
• Ninety-seven percent of mental health court graduates improved their mental health and their quality of life.
• Unemployment among graduates was reduced by more than two-thirds – from 73 percent at admission to the program to 22 percent at discharge.

Four of the courts that received grants are regional courts like the one in Manistique that provide services either in several counties or in several courts in more urban counties, crossing jurisdictional lines to provide treatment services to offenders under strict court supervision.

In 2015, Michigan became the second state in the nation to establish regionalized mental health courts.