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October 31, 2023 Fall 2023

Driving Change–Exploring Michigan’s Treatment Courts: Court Professionals Lead Discussion at the Detroit Auto Show

By Judge Karen Khalil, Region 5 JOL

On Wednesday, September 13th, as a part of the Mobility Global Forum during Media and Technology Days connected to the North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show), a panel of Michigan treatment court professionals participated in a discussion entitled “Driving Change: Exploring Michigan’s Treatment Courts.”

The Michigan Supreme Court’s Liaison to the state’s 207 problem-solving courts, Justice Kyra H. Bolden, served as the moderator. The panelists included Judge Shannon Holmes, Judge Karen Khalil, and Jamaine Atkins, all members of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals, which provides leadership and training for these specialty courts. 

“Problem-solving courts exemplify how we are working to increase public trust and confidence in the judiciary through collaboration and compassion,” said Justice Bolden. “Year after year, we have shown that the PSC graduates are able to get treatment that improves their quality of life and entire communities across Michigan are made safer as recidivism rates drop.”

The forum allowed these court professionals to explain to industry insiders what treatment courts are and how they serve in their communities.  “Why are we at the Detroit Auto Show?” asked Judge Karen Khalil who leads a Veterans Treatment Court in Redford Township, Michigan.  “We are here to let the industry know that we are interested in establishing partnerships for those we serve and specifically to enhance the ways in which we all work to promote public safety,” she said.  Khalil noted that “in some way, each of the big three played a part in assisting with the startup of a non-profit organization that provides assistance to the veterans in her program,” which has provided for training and assisting veterans where necessary.

“It’s important to understand that many of the participants in the treatment courts we serve are auto workers or are in some way related to the automotive industry, so it’s very important that we deliver this message to those who lead the industry,” stated Jamaine Atkins who serves as a Certified Peer Recovery Coach through Growth Works, Inc. in Washtenaw County, Michigan.

Khalil also addressed the overriding mission to decrease recidivism in drunk/impaired driving cases which make up a large portion of the cases that lead people to the treatment court world. She explained how treatment courts address substance use disorders in a different way than traditional probation and incarceration.

The Detroit Auto Show is considered one of the most influential annual automotive events in the world and a showcase for emerging technologies.

Judge Karen Khali

Region 5 Judicial Outreach Liaison

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