News Item
Minnesota receives eight federal grants to support state’s treatment court programs

Posted: Friday, October 21, 2016

Twelve treatment court programs in Minnesota will benefit from recently-announced grants from the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grants – eight in total – will help fund implementation of five new treatment court programs, and provide funding to enhance and improve seven existing programs.
The following programs have been awarded three-year, $350,000 implementation grants from the BJA to support the launch of new programs:
  • Anoka County Drug Court;
  • Olmsted County Drug Court;
  • Roseau County Drug Court;
  • Scott County Drug Court; and
  • Wright County Drug Court.
The following programs have been awarded three-year, $300,000 enhancement grants from the BJA to expand and improve existing treatment court programs:
  • Anoka County Veterans Treatment Court; and
  • Steele-Waseca Adult Drug Court.
In addition, Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District was awarded a three-year, $325,000 grant from SAMHSA to enhance district-wide coordination and delivery of services for five treatment courts in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. These programs include:
  • Carlton County Drug Court;
  • Range Hybrid Drug/DWI Court (Virginia);
  • South St. Louis County Drug Court (Duluth);
  • South St. Louis County DWI Court (Duluth); and
  • South St. Louis County Mental Health Court (Duluth).
Each of the grants detailed above were awarded through a nationwide, competitive process.
“Across Minnesota, more and more communities are coming together to improve public safety by establishing treatment court programs to address drug addiction and mental health issues in the criminal justice system,” said Minnesota State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba. “Extensive research has shown treatment courts are an effective tool that not only reduce recidivism and save costs, but improve the lives of those who participate in the programs. These new federal grants will help us bring the proven benefits of treatment courts to more communities, and help improve the services provided by several of our existing programs.”
The new federal grants will continue building on a significant expansion of treatment court programs in Minnesota in recent years. At the beginning of 2014, Minnesota had 41 operational drug and mental health court programs operational in the state. Today, Minnesota has 57 treatment courts either currently operating or in the final implementation phase, including 11 multi-county programs. This expansion has been fueled by new investments by the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the state Legislature, state and federal agencies, and local governments. The expansion has also been backed by state and national research showing the effectiveness of these programs.
Since 2012, Minnesota has conducted three statewide evaluations of treatment court programs. These evaluations, as well as many other national studies, have shown the real, positive impact of treatment courts: reduced recidivism among participants, long-term cost savings in the criminal justice system, and better outcomes for offenders struggling with addiction, including higher rates of employment, stable housing, and educational attainment. A summary of these evaluations, with links to complete reports, is available here.
‘Treatment courts’ now used to describe drug courts and other problem-solving court programs
The Minnesota Judicial Council recently approved a recommendation from the Drug Court Initiative Advisory Committee to formally change the universal term of reference from “drug court” to “treatment court” in Judicial Branch policies, standards, and other materials. The term “treatment court” will be used to describe, generally, drug courts, DWI courts, veterans courts, mental health courts, juvenile drug courts, family dependency courts, and other problem-solving court programs. This policy change will not impact the name of any specific drug or treatment court program in the state.
The approved recommendation will also change the name of the Drug Court Initiative Advisory Committee to the Treatment Court Initiative Advisory Committee. These changes will take effect on January 1, 2017.
More information about Minnesota’s treatment courts is available here