State gives $ 150,000 to treatment dishes in the Alpena area | News, sports, jobs


News Photo by Julie Riddle Alpena 88th District Court Judge Liz Skiba explains the filing process for government funding for the Alpena Drugs Court on Wednesday.

ALPENA – More than $ 150,000 in state money will help special courts in northeast Michigan deter residents from recurring drug and alcohol offenses over the next year.

The State Court Administrative Office’s annual problem-solving court grants – this nearly $ 17 million total cycle of grants awarded to drug, psychiatric, and veterans treatment courts – empowers local problem-solving courts for criminals who are most vulnerable to recurrence are threatened to offer an alternative to prison their crimes.

The state granted the Alpena 88th District Drugs Court $ 35,000 in 2022, some less than in previous years, the Alcona County’s Drug Court $ 56,500 in 2022, at the same level as in previous years, and the Montmorency County Veterans Treatment Court $ 60,000, the most ever awarded to this court.

Alpena’s drug court currently has an average of 10 participants, although it could accommodate up to around 20, according to Judge Liz Skiba. The Alcona District Drug Court is currently overseeing 12 participants, four of whom recently completed the program, the district court staff reported.

Drug court attendance has decreased in recent months, with COVID-19 restricting face-to-face gatherings and changing the nature of crimes committed, Skiba said.

The court relies on state and federal funds, but it also needs human resources to run smoothly – a challenge in recent months due to staff turnover, including the retirement of the judge, senior probation officer, and judge.

With a new judge, a new judge coming on Friday, and a new probation officer starting on Tuesday, the Alpena drug court is on its way for more participants by January, Skiba said.

In a 2020 study of problem-solving court data, the state found that graduates from adult drug court programs had much better employment opportunities and drastically reduced their chances of being convicted of a new crime in the years following graduation .

Problem-solving courts limit participants to those at high risk of relapse. Until a perpetrator reaches that point, he or she will not respond to the drug court’s strict requirements, Skiba said.

Studies show that people who are put on an intensive probation program or extensively incarcerated after a single misstep or minor crime are put down rather than bettered as a result of such treatment, Skiba said.

The Montmorency County Veterans Treatment Court currently has 12 entrants and three more are expected in the near future, according to Court Administrator Jennifer Lewis.

The court offers military veterans whose struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, reintegration problems, or other mental health diagnoses brought them into contact with the criminal justice system, an intense parole period.

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