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Summit Looks At Mental Health, Criminal Justice In Michigan

Rick Snyder
State of Michigan

Experts in mental health and criminal justice were in Lansing Tuesday as part of Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to overhaul both systems – and help people struggling with addiction, unemployment, and, sometimes, criminal behavior.   

Governor Snyder formed the group four years ago to help come up with ways to integrate physical and mental health services. 

“And that’s a message that I still don’t think people fully understand – you can’t separate physical and mental health.”

Governor Rick Snyder told the group it has a critical mission.  

Second Quote from Gov. Rick Snyder

“Because we’re talking real people and their lives, and the impact. It affects them, their families, and the rest of us.”

Michigan Corrections Director Heidi Washington was a keynote speaker.  She says there’s more to be done to provide early assistance when people run into problems.

Quote from Heidi Washington

“And putting our resources, hopefully, more on the front end of the system so that we’re helping people earlier on in the process, turning them around, and diverting them from the path of incarceration.”

Governor Rick Snyder created the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council in 2013.  Some mental health advocates are concerned the Snyder administration’s plans would shift too much responsibility for services to for-profit insurance companies. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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