What is Thumb Regional Sobriety Court?

Tuscola County Circuit Court Judge Amy Grace Gierhart and Tuscola County District Court Judge Kim David Glaspie brought what is commonly called a “treatment court” to the area when it launched in 2014.
The program serves Tuscola, Huron, and Sanilac counties, with proceedings held at the Tuscola County Courthouse in Caro.
Gierhart said she and Glaspie recognized the need at the same time Michigan’s State Court Administrative Office (part of the Michigan Supreme Court) was looking to set up a treatment court in the Thumb region.
Funding is funneled to the program from state and federal sources, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Gierhart said.
People get into TRSC one of three ways: referrals by the prosecutor, defense attorneys, or the court itself.
Potential participants are screened via clinical and substance abuse assessments. During sobriety court proceedings, the TRSC team discusses whether or not a candidate would be a good fit for the program. The TRSC team consists of experts in substance abuse and 12-step programs like AA, along with representatives of the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement, case managers, and Gierhart. The final decision is up to the sentencing judge.
Accepted participants must complete intensive court supervision combined with individual/group treatment, alcohol/drug testing, and 12-step meeting attendance.
According to a TRSC press release, “With four phases, the participants must show gains in behaviors, attitude, lifestyle changes, substance abuse treatment, drug testing, and 12-step attendance before advancing to another phase. TRSC offers the participants incentives for good behavior and lifestyle changes and has sanctions for behavior modification when necessary. Intensive court supervision includes weekly case management meetings and bi-monthly court review hearings with Judge Amy Grace Gierhart.”
The TRSC has recognized more than 50 graduates since 2014.
One has been arrested for drunken driving post-graduation.

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