Plan To Expand Mental Health Courts Clears State House Committee

Sep 12, 2013

Many state lawmakers say they’re eager to expand Michigan’s mental health court system.

A state House panel Thursday unanimously approved legislation to bolster the alternative courts for people with serious mental health issues.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher.

People diagnosed with conditions like severe depression and schizophrenia can avoid jail time and have certain charges erased from public records. That’s if they participate in mental health treatment programs under the supervision of a judge.

State Representative Phil Cavanagh is the top Democrat on the committee that approved the measure.

“If we can get assessment beforehand or keep them out of jail, it’s much more likely that the state’s going to save money and we’re going to have productive citizens,” he says.

The State Court Administrator’s office says participants in Michigan’s mental health courts are far less likely to re-offend than those in the traditional criminal justice system.

The legislation now goes to the full state House.