Michigan’s problem-solving courts switch focus on rehabilitation

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Nationwide, people are looking at options to reduce incarceration. Here in Michigan, problem solving courts have been providing rehabilitation treatments to people for more than 20 years.

According to the latest state report, graduates of drug court programs are more than
two times less likely to be convicted of a new offense within three years of admission to a program.

Cody Gardner, a graduate from the Eaton county drug court says finishing the program changed his life.

“Eaton County drug court is one of the hardest out of any counties around and it will push you to the test but at the end when you graduate you will feel like a brand new woman…man,” Gardner said.

Problem solving courts are programs that help veterans, substance abuse offenders, or people dealing with mental health problems get the help they need.

“The problem solving courts are a combination of using mental health professionals, treatment providers along with the traditional participants in the justice system like probation officers,” says Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham.

There are nearly 200 treatment courts statewide and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement says there are plans to expand.

“We’re a national leader in all of our courts but definitely our veteran treatment courts and I know there is interest in expanding those,” she said.

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