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Michigan Court Records

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What are Michigan Specialty Courts?

Michigan specialty courts are problem-solving courts (PSCs) within the state’s criminal justice system. PSCs provide specialized rehabilitation programs, treatment services, and intensive supervision to non-violent offenders with addictions and mental illnesses, as alternatives to incarceration and minimizing recidivism. Programs in the courts include mental health, drug/sobriety, and veterans.

The PSCs are managed by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) of the Michigan Supreme Court in collaboration with the trial court judges. The SCAO also assists in training, education, technical aspects, funding, certification requirements, and determining the courts’ operation standards. Problem-solving courts in Michigan include:

  • Drug Treatment Courts
  • Mental Health Courts
  • Veterans Treatment Courts

These courts are split into divisions across county lines, working together with teams consisting of judiciary members, law enforcement personnel, and staff from the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals to help save and improve citizens’ lives, aid recovery, and reduce overcrowding in jails. As of 2019, there were 199 courts statewide:

  • 135 drug treatment/DWI sobriety courts:
    • 64 hybrid drug treatment/DWI sobriety courts
    • 31 DWI sobriety courts
    • 11 adult drug treatment courts
    • 12 juvenile drug treatment courts
    • Eight tribal family dependency courts
    • Nine tribal drug treatment/DWI sobriety courts
  • 37 mental health courts
    • 31 adult courts
    • Six juvenile courts
  • 27 veterans treatment courts

Each problem-solving court has distinct procedures and operates with specific models/frameworks.


As authorized by MCL 600.1060(c), the Drug Treatment Courts provide optional, therapeutic court-supervised programs to non-violent offenders with substance use disorders (SUO). The courts’ goal is to reduce jail congestion, docket crowding, and recidivism in substance abuse.

The Drug Courts are further subdivided into five sections, each handling a different type of offender:

  • Adult Drug Courts: offers programs to persons involved in drug or non-drunk, felony, or misdemeanor driving offenses. The court’s model is extracted from the 10 Key Components of Drug Courts.
  • Sobriety/DWI Courts: accepts DWI repeat and high-BA offenders, and uses the model derived from the 10 Guiding Principles of DWI Courts.
  • Hybrid Courts: accepts offenders as like the adult drug courts and sobriety courts and uses both courts’ frameworks in its operations.
  • Juvenile Drug Courts: treats juvenile delinquents and status offenders with drug or alcohol addictions in line with the Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies in Practice
  • Family Dependency Treatment Courts address specific child and abuse cases where the contributing factor is a parent’s addiction. These courts use the Adult Drug Courts’ model as a foundational framework and work towards providing safe and stable homes for children. Also, aiding parents in drug/alcohol abstinence and reclaiming control of their lives.

In the Drug Courts, a court team oversees the courts’ programs, and assists admitted individuals by providing treatment, supervision, testing, sanctions, incentives, and other personalized rehabilitation services. The Drug Court team consists of the following members:

  • Judge(s)
  • Program Coordinator
  • Attorneys (prosecutors and public defenders)
  • Probation officer(s)or case manager(s)
  • Treatment providers
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Local Substance Abuse Coordinating Agency/Health Department
  • Representatives from Community Organizations

The court screens prospective participants based on criteria such as the type of offense committed, offense history, offender’s age, drug use, offender’s residence, medical/mental issues, availability of treatment, and transportation restrictions. According to the FY 2019 Annual Report, Michigan Drug Courts had 6,717 participants and 2,755 discharged participants in 2019. The Hybrid Courts programs recorded the most attendance in the state, making up 64% of the total number of participants. Of the discharged individuals, 65% completed a program; 30% were discharged based on non-compliance or a subsequent offense; and 5% voluntarily withdrew due to transfer of a case, medical discharge, or death.

Programs of the court follow the rules provided by the Drug Statute (MCL 600.1060 through MCL 600.1088​​) and best practices outlined in the Adult Drug Court Standards, Best Practices, and Promising Practices manual.

Interested persons may find Michigan Drug Courts in the Circuit and District Courts. Locations and contact information of the courts (adult, DWI/sobriety, juvenile, and family dependency) are available on the Courts’ Directory.


The Michigan Mental Health Courts are specialized courts established in 2000 to address serious mental illness detected in non-violent criminal offenders (MCL 330.1100a(25) and 330.1100d(2)(3)).. The court is divided into an adult and juvenile court given by MCL 600.1090-MCL 600.1099a and MCL 600.1099b-MCL 600.1099m​ of the state’s legislation.

The courts’ processes are similar to those of the Drug Courts. That is, offenders must pass a screening process before admittance and may choose to accept or decline the court’s offer. Individuals who accept admittance undergo community-based supervision by a court team. This team consists of court staff and mental health professionals skilled in drawing up treatment plans for defendants. Statewide, the courts had a sum of 1,393 participants in 2019. 345 (53%) of this number completed a program successfully. The ​Adult Mental Health Court Standards, Best Practices, and Promising Practices guide the courts’ operations. Court locations of the adult and juvenile Mental health Courts may be viewed via the Courts Directory.


Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) in Michigan are established by MCL 600.1200 to MCL 600.1212​ and exist to handle instances when military veterans enter the state’s criminal justice system. On some occasions, the courts may also treat active-duty military personnel. The courts use the combined model of the drug and mental health courts, as well as a non-traditional approach in serving these parties.

In carrying out its functions, the court liaisons with community and state partners to provide recovery, sobriety, mentoring, and recovery services to veterans. Partners include the drug and mental health courts, healthcare networks of the state/federal departments of veterans affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), volunteer mentors/veteran mentors, and organizations providing veteran support/family services.

The court’s procedures generally follow those indicated in the Veterans Treatment Court Standards, Best Practices, and Promising Practices​. In 2019, the state had 26 VTC programs, screened 372 prospective participants, had 276 offenders in attendance, and discharged 266 participants. The Court Directory contains a list of Veterans Treatment Court locations in the state.

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