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      Mental health court bills nearing Snyder's desk

      <p>Legislation to create <a href="http://www.minbcnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=949466">special courts under Michigan law that serve people with mental illnesses</a> is nearing Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.</p>

      Legislation to create special courts under Michigan law that serve people with mental illnesses is nearing Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.

      The Senate unanimously approved the bills Wednesday, and the House is expected to concur before adjourning for the year.

      More than a dozen counties have mental health courts that let charges be dismissed or reduced so offenders get treatment instead of jail. The legislation would create the courts in statute and form a blueprint for how they should work, but not create more mental health courts.

      The agency overseeing Michigan's court system has praised the performance of the special courts.

      A study found a lower level of repeat offenders in them. Participants also had better opportunities for work, education and treatment.

      The bills would bar violent offenders from participating.