Social Work Dean Sheryl Kubiak accepts appointment to Michigan Judicial Council

Sheryl Kubiak speaking at WSU podiumThe Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Sheryl Kubiak, PhD, dean and professor of the Wayne State University School of Social Work and founding director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, to serve as a public member of the Michigan Judicial Council.

Established by the Michigan Supreme Court in early 2021, the Michigan Judicial Council is tasked with planning strategically for the state's judicial branch, enhancing the work of the courts and making recommendations to the Supreme Court on matters regarding the administration of justice. Kubiak will have a direct role in accomplishing these tasks to create "One Court of Justice" across Michigan by consulting the public, bringing together a wide range of viewpoints and helping to determine the direction of our judiciary until her term ends in December 2022.

The Michigan Judicial Council is comprised of 29 members, including judges, court administrators, attorneys, probate registers, county clerks and members of the public who are not attorneys. The Council is intentionally representative of Michigan's diverse population of nearly 10 million residents and 83 counties, ensuring and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Problem solving courts have demonstrated the power of the judiciary to divert individuals to needed treatment and resources within the community - benefiting the individual, families and society in general. Expanding the concept and creating mechanisms to solve problems in all courts, rather than creating new ones, provides an opportunity for Michigan to lead the country in court innovation. - Sheryl Kubiak

Members of the Council will place the welfare of the public and the judicial branch as whole above the individual interests of a judicial district, court organization, judge or employee. This is not the first time Kubiak has worked to advocate for the welfare of Michiganders in the criminal justice system. She has previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration and the state's Criminal Justice Policy Commission. Kubiak has been involved at the intersection of the criminal/legal system and behavioral health for over 30 years, beginning when she developed and administered a long-term residential re-entry program in Detroit for pregnant women addicted to crack cocaine. Since then, Kubiak has received funding from national (NIMH, NSF, NIDA) and state (MDOC, MDHHS) government, as well as foundations (i.e., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skillman, Flinn, MI Justice Fund) to research and evaluate projects such as substance abuse treatment within prisons, mental health courts, and integrated substance abuse and mental health treatment for those involved in the legal system. Currently, she works closely with the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council to advance diversion and deflection at the county level and working with the Michigan Opioid Partnership to ensure access to, and continuity of, treatment for those with substance use disorders in jails.

Kubiak's commitment to justice culminated in her founding of the Wayne State School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) in 2018. Focused on facilitating conversations and data-driven decision-making among community stakeholders interested in reducing or preventing individuals with mental health or substance use disorders from entering the criminal legal system, the CBHJ works with Michigan stakeholders from law enforcement, jail administration, courts, community mental health, probation/parole and general health care.

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