U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Vernon County OWI Court

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $515,523)

Vernon County is a rural county with an active post-adjudication Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) court since 2011 and an operational post-adjudication drug court since March 2019. In response to an identified need to address increase in drug-related crimes and dependence, they are seeking to enhance court operations, enhance treatment capacity and other critical support services, and improve the quality and/or intensity of services based on needs assessments. The Recovery Court (which includes both OWI and Drug Court tracks) operates out of the Vernon County Courthouse at 400 Courthouse Square, Viroqua, Wisconsin. Current capacity is 25 participants, and we would like to maintain that capacity during this operating period. The minimum time to complete the program is 14 months, the average has been 16 months, and the maximum is 20 months. Sixty participants will be served during the length of the grant; this is based on a minimum of 14 months for participants to complete the program. Our admission process will involve identifying our target population of HR/HN OWI and drug offenders at their initial court appearance and, if they choose to participate, assessing them while they await plea and sentencing, which is expedited to allow them to participate in the program’s treatment as soon as possible. They generally are admitted to the program and begin the treatment within 50 days of conviction. Our target number of participants directly reflects the identified number of arrestee population. We use evidence-based screening and assessment tools to determine both risk and dependence level as per the NADCP and WATCP guidelines. We currently work with MAT providers in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, through both AMS and Gundersen Healthcare. Because transportation is an issue due to our rural area, we do assist participants in obtaining access to the regional transit service that will take them to MAT services and counselors. Substance use reduction in our program is attained through a process of early intervention and access to treatment at the level recommended by the treatment provider and a consistent program that includes group therapy sessions, individual counseling, peer support, intensive outpatient treatment, in-patient treatment, and MAT services as needed. The NADCP Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards that will be addressed include 4 (Incentives Sanctions and Therapeutic Adjustments), 7 (Drug and Alcohol Testing), and 8 (Multidisciplinary Team). Vernon County Recovery Court will use the Wisconsin Department of Justice CORE Database for participant and program report, including post program recidivism rates.

Date Created: September 27, 2023