Court Admin Praises Mental Health Reforms

Some new corrections-related mental health reforms signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on Friday are being praised by State Court Administrator Milton Mack, Jr. He tells us the measure approved by the Michigan Legislature and now signed by the governor are “a monumental step forward,” saying they make “Michigan a national leader in making it easier to ask for outpatient mental health treatment before a crisis.”

The bills provide the authority for guardians of legally-incapacitated individuals to seek mental health treatment for them, and also revise Kevin’s Law, the state law that allows family to petition treatment for those with mental illness. The revisions broaden the definition of a person requiring treatment and eliminate the requirement of two testimonies or written depositions for an assisted outpatient treatment program.

Mack says the reforms respond to concerns in Michigan and across the nation that jails and prisons have become the primary institutions for persons with mental illness. He says the bills address the problem of rigid legal standards for involuntary treatment and the inability of courts to intervene when a person’s judgment is impaired by mental illness.