File photo by Deb Jacques

State Supreme Court awards Troy drug court $146K grant

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 7, 2018

TROY — Addiction bleeds through an overwhelming number of cases tried in the 52-4 District Court in Troy.

In an effort to lift deserving defendants out of active addition and into productive, sober lives, the 52-4 drug treatment court works with the court’s probation department and other community partners.

The drug treatment court recently received an infusion of support from the Michigan Supreme Court in the form of a $146,000 grant for the 2019 fiscal year.

According to the Michigan Supreme Court, extensive follow-up analysis shows that in the 2017 fiscal year, adult drug court graduates were more than three times less likely to commit another crime after two years. Unemployment among adult drug court graduates was reduced by 100 percent.

“The funding we are able to grant to Michigan’s problem-solving courts is vital because it enables them to continue doing what they do best: saving lives, saving money, and strengthening families and communities,” Justice Elizabeth Clement, the Michigan Supreme Court’s  liaison to problem-solving courts, said in a prepared statement. “Judge (Kirsten Nielsen) Hartig and Judge (Maureen) McGinnis, as well as their teams, are to be commended for their steadfast leadership and dedication to making this court successful.”

“Sobriety court treats defendants whose lives have become overwhelmed due to their addiction to prescription drugs, illegal drugs and/or alcohol. In my opinion, it is the most challenging aspect of our judicial role,” Nielsen Hartig said in a prepared statement.

“Judge McGinnis and I, together with our probation department and many community partners, work tirelessly to lift these very deserving defendants out of their active addiction and into productive and sober lives. When an addicted person is in recovery, he or she is able to more effectively parent, work and become productive members of society. The whole family heals, and society is protected from these individuals’ addicted thinking and actions, making our community safer.”

McGinnis said that Patti Bates, the director of the probation department and the coordinator of the drug treatment court program, began the grant writing process last spring.

“It was a 41 percent increase from the grant awarded last year,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis said that people deemed eligible for the program must live or work in Oakland County, meet a score on a substance abuse evaluation and agree to participate. The court also considers the defendant’s criminal history.

The program runs anywhere from 12 to 24 months and involves extensive drug and alcohol testing, up to 12 times per month, which ranges from  $20 to $25 for each test. The grant can help alleviate those costs, McGinnis said. “The (substance abuse) testing component is intense.”

McGinnis said the program incentivizes and rewards good behavior and progress. Defendants have contact with someone in the program on a weekly basis, enabling problems to be handled quickly to celebrate successes.

“Sometimes they’ve only come in for us to tell them ‘great job.’ We’re really excited about the grant.”

She noted that larceny, domestic violence and other cases are often traced back to addiction.