- Associated Press - Monday, October 2, 2017

MANISTIQUE, Mich. (AP) - A specialty court that will focus on offenders with mental health problems has been added in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

The court will serve five counties: Alger, Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac and Schoolcraft.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kurtis Wilder was in Manistique on Monday to mark the occasion. He also announced that more than $5 million has been awarded to 32 other mental health courts.

Wilder says treatment - not jail - can solve mental health problems. The courts typically are for people whose crimes are rooted in poor mental health. About 60 percent of crimes were misdemeanors in the latest reporting period.

The courts provide local treatment, drug testing and housing and job assistance. In a two-year period, 49 percent of 1,005 participants successfully completed programs in Michigan.

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