News Item
Fifth Judicial District Drug Courts Receive County Achievement Award

Posted: Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fifth Judicial District Drug Courts have been recognized by the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) with a 2010 County Achievement Award. 

The prestigious award was presented at AMC’s annual conference on Dec. 6 in St. Cloud.   

“I’m very grateful that our drug courts have been recognized in this way,“ said Fifth Judicial District Judge Robert Walker, who presides over the multi-county adult drug court serving Faribault, Martin, and Jackson counties.  “With budgets being strained the way they are, AMC has acknowledged the fiscal advantage to implementing drug courts.  Not only are they innovative and cost-effective for the Judicial Branch, but they result in defendants working and paying taxes as opposed to putting additional cost burdens on the state.” 

Drug courts have been shown to reduce the need for lengthy jail sentences by providing intensive supervision.  They have also been shown to reduce drug use, restore lives, and reunite families.  The first multi-county adult drug courts in the state were developed in the Fifth Judicial District.  Three multi-county collaboration efforts have resulted in the implementation of drug courts serving nine of the 15 counties in the District. 

Projects selected for the award had to provide lessons for other counties to draw from; be highly innovative in nature; result in tangible benefits for the community, such as reduced costs, higher efficiencies, or improved systems or services; or require substantial initiative, leadership, and commitment.

Watonwan County Commissioner John Baerg recommended submitting an application for the award, and the Drug Courts were selected to receive the award by a committee of county officials.