LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the governor’s point man on mental health issues, signed legislation Monday that allows for the expansion of the state’s mental health court program.
Mental health courts have been successful in reducing the number of offenders with mental health or substance abuse problems who break the law, Calley said Monday.
“The most effective and humane way to deal with the problem of recidivism is through a comprehensive system of smart justice that recognizes the connection between enforcement and prevention,” Calley said in a statement. “Mental health courts play a critical role in that system. They have demonstrated their value by ensuring public safety, easing the strain on our corrections system and providing mentally ill offenders with needed treatment.”
One of the four related bills authorizes circuit and district courts to create mental health courts. It also authorizes the family division of a circuit court to institute a mental health court for juveniles. Other bills set criteria for a person to go into a mental health court and require people to comply with the courts’ orders.
Gov. Rick Snyder named Calley as chairman of the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission. Calley also chairs the Mental Health Diversion Council in the Michigan Department of Community Health. The council provides recommendations for ensuring that offenders with mental health or substance abuse issues receive appropriate treatment rather than jail time.
“Allowing for the creation of additional mental health courts is both compassionate and cost-effective. Breaking the cycle in which jail becomes a revolving door for mentally ill offenders means a safer, healthier Michigan,” Calley said.
Also Monday, Snyder’s office said the governor has signed 14 bills into law, several of them designed to improve government efficiency.
One bill dissolves the Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board now that Michigan is getting a school of osteopathic medicine.
Other signed legislation also revises drainage districts, updates drain code language to repeal eminent domain property provisions and enables the sale of pharmaceutical-grade marijuana to people with pre-existing medical conditions. That bill is contingent on the passage of a similar federal law.
Snyder also signed bills related to Michigan’s public employee health insurance law. One new law requires elected officials to be counted as employees and raises the insurance cap on individual-and-spouse coverage from $11,000 to $12,500.