Michigan’s Problem-Solving Courts for Mental Illness, Veterans and Addiction Get Infusion of Resources

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Beth Clement says the near $17 million expansion of the state’s courts — which provide alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent offenders — will help reshape the justice system.

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Problem-solving courts, or courts that provide alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent offenders, accommodate those in the criminal justice system with mental health or addiction issues. Michigan recently received nearly $17 million in grants for these programs statewide, which Justice Beth Clement says will reshape our justice system. 

“What [problem-solving courts] are is very strict supervision and treatment … What kind of treatment do they need? What kind of support do they need in order to help them tackle what has led them to the criminal justice system?” –Michigan Supreme Court Justice Beth Clement


Listen: Michigan’s near $17 million funding boost to specialized judicial treatment programs.


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Justice Beth Clement serves on the Michigan Supreme Court. She says problem-solving courts are an alternative to the traditional judicial system, which is ill-equipped to serve those suffering from mental health or addiction issues. “We have the data to show our traditional models are not leading us toward rehabilitation.” Problem-solving courts account for an individual’s issues, providing alternative sentences for rehabilitation rather than imprisonment. “What [problem-solving courts] are is very strict supervision and treatment … What kind of treatment do they need? What kind of support do they need in order to help them tackle what has led them to the criminal justice system?” 

Michigan has more than 204 problem-solving courts statewide, and Clement says this recent grant will expand access to these programs. “We’ve started … bringing together judges around the state talking about what the judiciary should look like going forward … You don’t have to have a formal problem-solving court program in your court to model what our problem-solving courts stand for.”

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