Mental Health Court Planning Money OK’d

The Ann Arbor city council has approved the receipt of a grant of $113,154 from the Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) to fund the planning for a mental health court program. Action came at the council’s May 19, 2014 meeting.

According to the staff memo accompanying the item, mental health courts are problem-solving courts “that focus on therapeutic treatment for offenders with mental illnesses whose crimes are a result of their mental illness.”

The memo continues:

Eligible defendants are diverted into judicially supervised, community-based treatment to address the underlying problems. The program uses a team approach to address the participant’s needs for mental health and/or substance abuse treatment while also linking the participant with ancillary services such as education, housing, job skills or other individualized assistance. The goal is to assist participants in bettering their lives while also benefiting the community by reducing jail time, recidivism rates, and court docket congestion.

The 15th District Court already operates several specialized courts – a sobriety court, a homeless court, veterans court and domestic violence court. The mental health court would be operated in addition to those other specialized courts.

For background on the 15th District Court’s specialized “problem-solving” courts from last year’s Chronicle reporting, see: “Round 1 FY 2014: 15th District Court.”

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall located at 301 E. Huron.