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Kent County Treatment And Support Court Graduates Four!

Friday, July 12, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck

The Kent County Treatment and Support Court (TASC) held its first graduation ceremony on July 11, 2019. The ceremony celebrated four participants' successful completion of the program by participating in therapy, drug testing, job training and other requirements while living in the community instead of the jail.


TASC presiding judge Joe Rossi said, "I am proud of the hard work and commitment demonstrated by these first 4 gradu ates. The benefits to them and our community include: saving hundreds of jail days and reduction of their convictions to misdemeanors, avoiding the stigma of a felony record. 3 out of 4 are working in full time jobs and successfully paid the entirety of their fines and court costs. Most important all of the men and women have gained skills they will use as members of their families and citizens of our county."

Rossi also expressed hope that these grads will pave the road for other participants' success, "I am inspired by the obstacles overcome by these graduates, which include homelessness, lack of proper medication and treatment, and transportation challenges. These four will guide the way for current and future participants, as well as showing everyone that treatment and hard work can help citizens overcome obstacles in their lives."

The ceremony also honored the memory of Christine, one of the initial participants who passed away before completing the program. Rossi said, "she avoided dying in jail or prison, moved from a shelter into an apartment, and lived the best months of her life."

TASC was created for defendants facing both felony charges and mental illness. The court substitutes a problem-solving, treatment focused model for traditional criminal court processing. The specialty court resulted from over a year of planning involving community partners including the County Commission and administration, Network180, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Sheriffs Office, Prosecutor's Office, Michigan Department of Corrections and the Public Defender's Office.

Judge Rossi and members of the court team are available for additional information upon request. Please contact Denise Lange or Lisa Baird, judicial clerks, at 616.632.5020.

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Grand Rapids Bar Association
161 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 203-B
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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