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Michigan courts reporting success with alternative sentencing program

Flickr User Michael Coghlan

Officials with the Michigan court system say a program celebrating its 10-year milestone is proving successful at keeping certain non-violent offenders out of the prison system. The so-called Specialty Courts  allow some people with  mental health....substance abuse problems...a chance to avoid prison time. Michigan Supreme Court Justice....Kurtis Wilder...says with the help of counselors...parole officers and other professionals...the alternative sentencing courts are finding high success rates for both juvenile and adult participants.

“We’re able to provide them that help and structure throughout the program, and the end result is that these graduates from these mental health courts are nearly 2 times less likely to commit another crime 2 years after completing a program than someone who hasn’t gone through a program”

 Wilder says the specialty court programs include offenders with mental health issues....drug and alcohol addiction and military veterans. There are 185 alternative sentencing courtrooms in use across the state.