The Michigan state constitution vests the judicial power of the state exclusively in a court system composed of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Circuit Court (which is the trial court of general jurisdiction, including the Family Court division), the Probate Court, and courts of limited jurisdiction such as the District Court and municipal courts. The statewide court system is administered by the Supreme Court Justices through the State Court Administrative Office. The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 recommends total funding of $283.9 million, of which $182.7 million is general fund.
Highlights of Governor’s Budget Recommendation
The governor maintains $16.8 million for specialty courts focused on reducing recidivism rates and substance abuse among nonviolent offenders.
• Public safety continues to be a priority as the governor includes $11 million for drug treatment courts which provide for early judicially-supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and use of appropriate sanctions, incentives, and rehabilitation services. The courts improve public safety by reducing drug and alcohol convictions.
• Mental health courts and diversion services are supported with $5.3 million to lessen the overrepresentation of persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Mental health courts serve as a valuable community alternative to more costly local and state criminal justice sanctions. Funding will maintain nine existing mental health courts. Jail diversion services include outpatient treatment assistance and court review hearings.
• The governor supports veterans’ courts with $500,000 enabling the delivery of a hybrid integration of drug court and mental health court services to military veterans to promote sobriety, recovery, and stability.
Efficient and Accountable Government
• In support of implementing a single case management system that unifies all trial courts, $4.1 million is conserved for the statewide roll-out of the next generation Michigan court system.
• The recommended budget recognizes $351,800 in additional savings from the elimination of judgeships by attrition. As a fiscally responsible standout, Michigan leads the nation in savings resulting from reducing unnecessary judgeships. The ongoing savings are projected to increase to $4.1 million in fiscal year 2016 from approximately $600,000 in 2011.
• Savings of $3.2 million are primarily attributable to reducing spending authorization for programs that typically have year-end lapses, as well as delaying hiring for vacant positions.