Michigan Planning to Expand Drug Courts

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Michigan's drug courts are set to undergo their greatest expansion in a decade with the addition of up to 16 sites.

Lawmakers have approved a plan to more than triple funding for the diversion program from just more than $1 million to more than $4 million in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Michigan now has 27 drug courts, the first of which opened in 1992. The courts handle about 1,900 cases a year.

Costs are significantly less because substance abuse treatment runs between $3,000 and $5,000. It costs about $28,000 a year to keep an offender in prison.

Next year, the courts could work with up to 600 parolees who otherwise would go to prison. That could save nearly $17 million.