89.1 WEMU

Michigan Supreme Court Says Specialty Courts Are Working

May 23, 2016

Michigan Supreme Court Seal
Credit Brandon Bartoszek / flickr.com

An annual report from the state Supreme Court says specialty courts that focus on veterans, people with mental illnesses, and those with substance abuse problems are reducing re-offense rates, and saving taxpayers money. 

Republican state Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen says the newest numbers are particularly encouraging when it comes to employment rates.  Larsen says turning offenders into taxpaying citizens is a bargain over sending offenders to jail or prison.  But she also says the state’s 179 specialty courts still need more resources, and there’s a small fraction of offenders who don’t have access to those services.  

“I think just improving access to the program is really what we should be focusing on.”  

Specialty courts currently cover 97% of Michigan residents. 

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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 studio@wemu.org