Berrien County Trial Court receives continued funding

Published 10:49 am Thursday, October 22, 2020

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BERRIEN COUNTY — The Berrien County Trial Court recently announced the continued funding of its two treatment courts as well as the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program for fiscal year 2021.

The trial court received notice of three grant awards from the State Court Administrator’s Office, totaling $407,800. Thes funds will continue to support the successful operations of the Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, and Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program.

The Mental Health Court was established in 2009 with Judge Al Butzbaugh as the first presiding judge.  There are currently 24 active enrollees and there have been 143 graduates to date.  The Mental Health Court targets those individuals on probation for both misdemeanor and felony level offenses with serious mental illness.

The Drug Treatment Court was established in 2010 by Judge Angela Pasula.  There are currently 13 active enrollees and 121 successful graduates to date.  The Drug Treatment Court targets individuals on probation for felony level offenses who have a significant substance abuse history.

The Mental Health Court and Drug Treatment Court are both currently run under the supervision of the Honorable Donna B. Howard.  Defendants for both Mental Health Court and Drug Treatment Court are referred from multiple sources including the prosecutor’s office, public defender’s office/private defense bar, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Trial Court probation.

The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program was established in 2012 by the Honorable Sterling R. Schrock.  SSSPP is an intensive probation program for felony offenders only and targets those felony probationers who are identified as high risk for failure on probation.  The program accepts those individuals who could have been sentenced to prison but were given an opportunity to succeed on probation in the community.  There are presently 75 active cases and 203 successful completions to date.  The Honorable Charles T. LaSata currently presides over the SSSPP docket.