New MN Drug Courts Mean More Rehab, Less Jail Time

Minnesota is set to experience a drastic increase in the number of drug courts throughout the state.

The state’s judicial branch will open a total of six new drug courts, all law tribunals dedicated to dealing with cases involving non-violent drug or alcohol offenders.

Typically, drug courts emphasize rehabilitation rather than jail time – instead opting for activities such as drug testing, required check-ins with the court and most importantly, ongoing treatment.

State locations set to host the new drug courts cover counties such as Carlton, Morrison, Ramsey, Rice, Waseca and others.

The initiative arrived after new state funding amounting to $875 thousand for drug courts was approved last year by the Minnesota state legislature.

“By focusing on treatment and recovery, and by using the power of the justice system to compel compliance, drug courts help break the cycle of chemical abuse and imprisonment that has trapped too many people in our state. This smart-on-crime approach helps keep our communities safe and improves the lives of many people facing addiction,” stated Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge Shaun Floerke via a Mncourts.gov press release.

Drug courts have been considered relatively successful in the recent past and have received widespread support by a wide number of officials. A 2012 evaluation statewide showed that recidivism rates dropped as a result of their existence.

But not only do drug courts help offenders with rehabilitation, they also save the state money: Programs to rehabilitate non-violent offenders typically cost less than sending them to jail.

The addition will expand the state’s number of drug courts to serve a total of 56 Minnesota counties – a whopping 47% increase.

The expansion appears to be a win-win for everyone. The courts will see recidivism rates drop, the state will lose less money and non-violent offenders will receive something that they probably need most: a second chance.