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Michigan looks to expand mental health courts

Earlier this month, a group of House Republican lawmakers introduced a four-bill package that would create a permanent system of mental health treatment courts in Michigan.

Currently there are 16 such courts scattered across the state, many of which were part of a state-funded pilot program that began in 2009. According to a 2012 evaluation of that pilot program from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the courts have had significant success in lowering recidivism rates among participants.

Genesee County probate judge Jennie Barkey, who has presided over one of the state’s first mental health courts, and Al Platt, Ingham County Supervisor of Adult Mental Health Services, join the Current State and explain how the courts work and why they think more are needed.

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