Street Outreach Court - Detroit is a collaborative project of the Michigan's 36th Judicial District Court designed to open the doors of justice to homeless people who have already demonstrated sincere and sustained effort to end their homelessness.
The 36th District Court’s Street Outreach Court – Detroit (“SOCD”) offers individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness the opportunity to resolve certain types of civil infractions and misdemeanors, including warrants, by crediting their personal ameliorative efforts to address the causes of their offending behaviors (such as job training, education, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation) towards their outstanding fines, costs, and/or jail time. This is a program that requires compliance with a comprehensive action plan before any relief is granted. Thus, all successful participants in SOCD have demonstrated sincere and sustained efforts to end their homelessness, efforts that merit the granting of relief.
A Participant meets with a social service nonprofit, a Provider, and together they draft a comprehensive Action Plan to end the Participant's homelessness. After a minimum of 30 days of progress, they apply to SOCD for relief. Once approved, a judge suspends the Participant's outstanding warrants, giving him or her time to complete the Action Plan.
A Participant then continues working on the Action Plan under the close supervision of the Provider for a minimum of 60 days. At a pre-trial conference, the SOCD legal team assesses the evidence of the Participant's progress and determines if relief is merited.
At a session of court held in an area soup kitchen, the SOCD hears testimony about the participant’s progress and enters pleas and/or dismissals, vacates fines and costs or takes other equitable action. Afterwards, any outstanding civil matters are referred to SOCD’s pro bono attorney partners.
Neighborhood Legal Services
313 964 1975
St. Leo's Soup Kitchen
313 933 9344
Capuchin Soup Kitchen
313 925 1370
For complete details regarding SOCD jurisdiction, eligibility, procedure, please see SOCD – Our Guidelines.
The Participants have put their blood, sweat, and tears into regaining control over their lives, facing the consequences of their past acts. The SOCD is proud to recognize the efforts of our Participants by sharing their stories and their hopes and dreams. For pictures of the Participants, please see our Facebook page.
“The most exciting part of being able to get my driver’s license is so that I can take my daughter to and from the different school activities she participates in.”
“I cried when I heard all my tickets had been taking care of. I did not think that I could get a break. I am looking forward to moving to a new place and driving again. I did not know how I was going to get the money together to pay for the tickets. I feel I have received a blessing.”
“I have a son that I love to visit and play with. I have been taking the bus to see him. I look forward to moving from my Mom’s and getting a full-time job. I definitely look forward to having my son ride around with me. I can update my chauffeur’s license. I think I am being given a second chance. I want to be a good father to my son.”
“I lost a job due to transportation issues. Now that I have regained employment and thanks to Street Outreach Court Detroit, I will be able to start the process to obtain my driver’s license. I am so excited about completing the Secretary of State process so that I will no longer have to rely on public transportation or others to assist during my daily travels.”
“I think it is going to be easier to get to my new job. I have a son and a baby on the way. I am looking forward to earning additional money and moving forward in my life. My girlfriend and I are looking forward to building a strong family life. I think having transportation will take some of the stress off.”
“I can focus on fixing up my house and obtaining a better job. The tickets were a burden on me with four [school-age] children… I wanted to drive them around but was scared of being caught. I can move forward and find a full-time job and it can be inside or outside of Detroit!”
Street Outreach Court – Detroit is a collaborative effort, requiring the efforts of many, many partners.
We intend to constantly measure the program’s effectiveness at ending homelessness. The following statistics represent the best available data as of May 20, 2013.
Number of Graduating Participants – 30
Percentage Stably Housed – 95%
Percentage with Stable Income – 82%
Percentage of Participants Who Have Not Committed a New Offense – 100%
Average Number of Cases Per Participant – 5
Average Amount of Fines, Costs, and Penalties Per Participant – $1,315
From Adjudication of All Cases at One Time* – $12,500
From Reduction of Recidivism Rate^ – $31,500
Amount of Parking Settlement Agreements Entered – $2,725
Cost to Taxpayers – $0
* This is based on a study that estimated the cost of all parties of operating a court room to be $5,000 per day or approximately $125 per case.
^ This is based on a study (The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime-Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835847/) that estimated the cost to the society for each new lower-level crime is $3500 per case (the societal cost of theft/larceny) and Michigan 2007 recidivism rate of 31.0%.