Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $200,000)
The Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program is designed to assist states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments in developing and establishing drug courts for substance-abusing adult and juvenile offenders. Drug court programs funded by the Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program are required by law to target nonviolent offenders. The program supports the following activities: adult drug court implementation, single jurisdiction drug court enhancement, statewide drug court enhancement, and planning efforts.
The 9th Judicial District of the Minnesota Judicial Branch will use fiscal year 2009 drug court discretionary grant funds to enhance eight drug and DWI courts in seven counties in northwestern Minnesota. The courts will be enhanced by providing alternative transportation, mental health treatment and dental care for those participants who do not qualify for assistance and cannot afford insurance, and training to county commissioners in these counties. The lack of mass transportation is an issue in rural northwestern Minnesota. Since all DWI court participants and approximately 75% of the drug court participants do not possess a valid driver's license, participants must rely on family members and/or friends for transportation to treatment, probation officer meetings, court hearings, support group meetings, school, and employment. Participants may live up to 30 miles from the courthouse, probation office, employment, school. Implementing a volunteer driver program in each county will promote public safety by providing alternative transportation resources.
Both mental health treatment and dental care are crucial for participants. Due to poor nutrition, there is a need for dental care for many participants who do not have access to assistance or dental insurance. Additionally, funding will be used to train county commissioners on the basic concepts and effectiveness of drug courts.