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Morrison County Drug Court

What is drug court? 

Drug court is a special court that handles cases involving non-violent drug-using offenders through intensive judicial supervision, case management, treatment, chemical testing and graduated sanctions and incentives.  While drug courts vary, all share an underlying premise that drug use is not simply a law enforcement or criminal justice problem, but a public health problem with roots deep in society.

Drug court is a team approach that brings together a number of people (judges, drug court coordinator, prosecutors, defense counsel, probation authorities, social services, law enforcement, treatment providers, and other drug court team members) to require an offender to deal with his or her substance abuse problem.  Personal accountability is an important aspect of drug court.  The program rules are clearly defined and outlined in a handbook that is provided to each participant.  A combination of rewards and sanctions are used to motivate and encourage participants toward recovery. 

Are drug courts effective?

Yes.  Specialty drug courts are an innovative approach to breaking the cycle of addiction and continued criminal behavior.  Drug courts are designed to maintain greater control over a participant and their drug use through intensive supervision, increased chemical testing and frequent judicial monitoring that will immediately address non-compliance with the imposition of sanctions.  In the traditional criminal setting, a person in a similar situation would otherwise receive little supervision, infrequent testing and have less incentive to change.

Why does Morrison County have a Drug Court?

Morrison County Drug Court was formed in response to the need for a new, more effective approach to drug offenders.  Drug courts that have been developed in a number of other jurisdictions across the country demonstrate that recidivism rates are reduced for participants in “treatment-based drug courts” when compared to the standard incarceration or probation-based approach.

Drug Court Eligibility

In order to qualify for drug court, the individual must meet the following eligibility standards: 

  1. Resident of Morrison County.
  2. Eighteen years of age or older.
  3. Have an open criminal case.
  4. Chemically dependent.
  5. Qualify based on objective determination of risk and needs.

The Drug Court Program and its Phases 

The Morrison County Drug Court program is a five-phased process lasting a minimum of 14 months.  Each drug court participant will be assessed a participant fee.  All participants are required to: (1) abstain from the use or possession of alcohol, products containing alcohol, illegal drugs, or any non-prescribed mood-altering substance; (2) have sober housing, (3) submit to observed, random drug testing; (4) comply with a curfew; (5) use a whereabouts line to report his or her location; and (6) engage in weekly pro-social activities consisting of employment, volunteering, education, or treatment-related activities.  Other major components of the phases include:

Phase 1

  • Length of phase – minimum of 2 months
  • Drug Court attendance 3 out of every 4 weeks
  • Minimum of two meetings per week with Drug Court probation agent
  • Enter into recommended treatment program and abide by treatment expectations
  • Obtain and / or maintain health care benefits

Phase 2

  • Length of phase – minimum of 3 months
  • Drug Court attendance 3 out of every 4 weeks
  • Minimum of two meetings per week with Drug Court probation agent
  • Continued treatment and cognitive programming
  • Establish health care providers

Phase 3

  • Length of phase – minimum of 3 months
  • Drug Court attendance 2 out of every 4 weeks
  • Minimum of four meetings per month with Drug Court probation agent

Phase 4

  • Length of phase – minimum of 3 months
  • Drug Court attendance 2 out of every 4 weeks
  • Minimum of two meetings per month with Drug Court probation agent

Phase 5

  • Length of phase – minimum of 3 months
  • Drug Court attendance 1 out of every 4 weeks
  • Minimum of two meetings per month with Drug Court probation agent
  • Completion of 40 hours of community service work

Graduation!
Recovery does not end at graduation.  Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Drug Court Participating Agencies

Morrison  County District Court – Seventh Judicial District
Morrison County Attorney’s Office
Seventh Judicial District Public Defender’s Office
Central Minnesota Community Corrections
Morrison County Social Services
Morrison County Sheriff’s Department
Little Falls Police Department
Effective Living Center, Inc.
St. Cloud Hospital Recovery Plus
Northern Pines Mental Health Center