County Council Asks To Reinvigorate Drug Treatment Court Talks – Park Rapids Enterprise

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Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes reported June 21 that the jail was still full, with the majority of incarcerations due to impaired driving and drug-related arrests.

Asked about the average length of stay, Aukes said he didn’t know because it takes up to a year to get blood test results from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), “so we don’t know what will be the penalty”. be on these people. The BCA needs more lab technicians.

County Commissioner Dan Stacey inquired about any information or thoughts on a specialty drug court in Hubbard County.

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch (MJB) website (mncourts.gov), “Treatment courts represent a shift in how courts treat certain offenders and work with key justice system stakeholders. In this approach, the court works closely with prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers, social workers and other justice system partners to develop a strategy that will encourage an offender to enter a treatment program and refrain from repeating the behaviors that brought him to court. ”

He continues, “Treatment courts are the most successful intervention in the history of our country to get people living with addiction and mental health issues out of the justice system and into a life of recovery and stability. . They improve education, employment, housing and financial stability; and promote family reunification. Instead of viewing addiction as a moral failing, they view it as a disease. Instead of punishing, they offer treatment. Instead of indifference, they show compassion.

MJB explains, “Treatment court strategies include regular appearances before a judge, intensive supervision by a probation officer, frequent randomized and individualized drug and alcohol testing, and the use of sanctions and punishments. immediate incentives to reward program compliance and respond to program non-compliance. Research shows that when these strategies are implemented correctly, treatment courts improve public safety and save taxpayers money.

Of drug treatment courts, Aukes said, “I’m definitely open to that. I don’t know if there has been any progress since the last time we discussed it with the committee, that is to say quite a while ago.

In May 2019, Marc Bloomquist, who at the time was the Hubbard County Department of Corrections (DOC) district supervisor, reported to the county council that he had three times funded a drug treatment court. in the county and three times a judge would. t sign on it.

Bloomquist died suddenly of a heart attack in December 2021.

On June 21, Stacey asked Aukes how to get the momentum going again.

Aukes said he would speak to DOC’s new district supervisor, Mark Smith.

County Commissioner David De La Hunt said he read in Minnesota Court Watch that drug treatment court reduced recidivism by 30 percent “in most cases. I think Roseau County is doing well with its specialty court. If you could reduce recidivism by 30%, that sounds like a win to me – not only for the taxpayer, but also for the person who needs help.

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