House approves blueprint for mental health courts

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House has unanimously approved legislation to create in law special courts that serve people with mental illness.

More than a dozen counties already have mental health courts that let charges be dismissed or reduced so offenders get treatment instead of jail. But bills OK’d Thursday and headed to the Senate would create them in statute and form a blueprint for how they should work.

The agency that oversees Michigan’s court system recently praised the performance of the special courts.

A study of 10 mental health courts around Michigan found a lower level of repeat offenders. Participants also had better opportunities for work, education and treatment.

The bills would bar violent offenders from mental health courts. Open government groups are concerned that the proceedings would be secret. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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