I have acted as attorney in a few DUI cases that have qualified for a problem-solving sobriety court. Instead of merely locking up the offender, the court offers the offender an intensive rehabilitation program for a chance at a lesser offense on his or her record. These courts are not easy, but they do treat the problem, which is what a lot of these offenders need to make sure that they are not repeat offenders.
In addition to sobriety court, a new mental health problem solving court has been started in a district court nearby.
"Ingham County’s 55th District Court is now one of at least 19 in the state steering mentally ill defendants into intensive and holistic treatment instead of jail. The program is available to defendants with serious mental illnesses who agree to participate. They can’t be forced into the program, which offers psychiatric treatment and therapy, as well as help finding housing, employment and health care.
Officials say jails too often are housing mentally ill people who wouldn’t otherwise be there if they had proper treatment and other forms of support.
Mental health courts can help prevent people from committing new crimes, according to a three-year study of 10 Michigan mental health courts by the State Court Administrative Office. The study found that participants’ recidivism rate was 300 percent lower compared with similar offenders. Also, more than a year after completing a mental health court program, participants had a recidivism rate under 20 percent, compared with 43 percent for other offenders."