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Lansing courts receive grant to set up domestic violence court

Domestic violence is a serious issue in the U.S., including in Michigan. The law provides for serious penalties for those convicted of domestic assault. For instance, a third conviction can mean five years in prison.

Some readers may wonder why someone would commit domestic violence multiple times, even after being arrested or convicted. Some in this position are struggling with drug addiction or anger management, which limits their ability to control themselves at times.

To give an opportunity to people who wish to change their ways, the district court in Lansing has set up a specialty court for certain offenders. Soon, those facing domestic violence charges for a third time may have the choice to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding possible prison time.

Instead, the defendants enter a program that helps them with their behavioral or addiction issues. The program lasts one to two years, during which the court monitors the defendant.

At this point, some readers may wonder what victims of domestic abuse think of diversionary programs like this one. They may be thinking that they would not like their abuser to avoid being locked up. But most victims really just want their loved ones to change, the executive director of a Lansing shelter for domestic violence survivors.

Change is what the program is looking for. A district court judge cited research that long-term treatment that lasts three to 12 months can leave lasting changes in the person’s behavior.

The program has yet to begin, but the court has been awarded a $150,000 grant, which the Lansing City Council was expected to vote on whether to accept on July 14.

If approved, the diversionary court could seriously change the options for many people accused of domestic violence. A defense attorney can help explain your options.

Source: WILX-TV, “New Program to Fight Domestic Violence in Lansing,” Anthony Sabella, July 14, 2014

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