Drug Courts have a tremendous impact on our communities. Drug Court stops the revolving door of arrest and incarceration for people with substance use and mental health disorders. Research shows that treatment courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone. These programs effectively reduce addiction, crime, and recidivism (the likelihood of a convicted criminal to re-offend) while restoring lives, reuniting families, and  saving valuable resources for our state.

 

Nationally, 75% of individuals who complete such programs are not re-arrested.  These courts save up to $13,000 for every individual. Today, nearly 3,200 treatment courts are in operation throughout the US, successfully treating about 150,000 substance addicted individuals each year.  Since 1989, these courts have saved over 1.5 million lives and billions of tax dollars.

 

The Burnett County Drug Court is a judicially supervised court that reduces correctional costs, enhances community safety, and improves public welfare. In these programs, seriously addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision.  Drug Court participants must meet obligations to themselves, their families, and their community.

 

To ensure accountability, participants are regularly and randomly tested for substance use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for meeting goals, and appropriately disciplined for not meeting clearly stated requirements.

 

Since its inception in 2006, Burnett County Drug Court has had 74 participants, out of the 74 participants 47 have graduated, 4 are actively participating, 1 was medically discharged, and 22 have been terminated from the program.  For the participant to remain successful after graduation as well as successful in the program they need to apply the tools they were given in the program. Alcohol and other drug recovery does not end on graduation day; it is an ongoing process where the life skills and self esteem that were developed in treatment are necessary for long term sobriety.

 

Submitted by: Tessa Anderson, Drug Court Coordinator

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