State House Approves Plan To Strengthen Mental Health Courts

Sep 19, 2013

The state House Thursday gave overwhelming bi-partisan support to legislation meant to strengthen Michigan’s mental health courts.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, the measure would encourage the alternative court system to expand.

But it wouldn’t provide state funding. Right now, Michigan’s mental health courts rely on local communities to finance their efforts.

But state Representative Kevin Cotter says strong support for these bills opens the way for future state investment.

“We haven’t bound the state to anything today in the way of cost,” he says.  “But in the next appropriations cycle, we may take a look at that.”

The alternative court system allows certain offenders with serious mental health issues to avoid jail time and have certain charges erased from public records. In return, they have to participate in treatment programs under the supervision of a judge.

The legislation now goes to the state Senate.