An Overview of Minnesota’s Adult Drug Offender Evaluation Program

Minnesota utilizes specialized courts to hear cases involving drug crimes. Every few years, the state conducts an audit of the entire program to measure its effectiveness. The results of that audit are discussed here.

Overview of the Drug Court

The Drug Court rose to prominence in the mid-2000s. By 2007, it had 27 operational drug courts covering one-third of Minnesota counties. The Drug Court specializes in trying and convicting drug offenders. Its judges understand the nature of drug crimes and the role that addiction plays. The goal is to create an alternative punishment method to reduce recidivism and keep drug offenders out of prison.

The Audit

The audit compared the Drug Court with a “comparison court” to measure its effectiveness.

Recidivism is the rate at which people re-offend after being convicted. If there is a high recidivism rate, then there are more repeat criminals. The Drug Court has a recidivism rate of 26 percent after two and one-half years versus 41 percent for traditional courts. After two-and-a-half years, it is widely believed that most people avoid criminal behavior altogether. This statistically significant result indicates that the Drug Court’s methods are effective at keeping people out of prison.

Drug Court Success Rates

The Drug Court is a give-and-take program. Individuals must apply into the program, be accepted and then complete the rehabilitation process. Individuals move through the program in a series of steps. Each program is tailored to fit an individual’s history and needs, usually a combination of therapy, classes, and tests.

The Drug Court is rigorous. The median graduation rate was only 54 percent. The Drug Court could improve the graduation rate, however, there is also the argument that the Drug Court is a privilege – not a right – people must earn the right to be in the program. Without that dedication, it is possible the rehabilitative aspects of the Drug Court may be unsuccessful.

Cost to Society

The objective of these programs is to reduce the cost to society. Unfortunately, the budget was cut therefore a cost-benefit analysis was not possible. However, the evaluators did measure the literal savings through reduced prison sentences, recidivism, and time in jails.

The evaluators found that, over two and one-half years, the average cost of a Drug Court participant was $3,189 less than traditional inmates. Overall, the costs of a Drug Court participant are significantly lower than holding people in prisons or jails.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Getting falsely accused of domestic violence in Minnesota may put you at risk of losing your job, custody of your children, or even your home. You may face criminal charges and the accusation may damage your reputation in the community, as people will now view you as an abuser. False domestic violence accusations often happen when couples are in a contentious relationship with a risk of divorce.
The top reasons for license suspension in Minnesota include driving under the influence of alcohol, repeated traffic violations, and failure to appear in court or pay fines. Failure to pay child support, criminal convictions and felonies, medical conditions/disabilities, and drag racing can also lead to license suspension. The suspension takes away your driving privileges, preventing you from driving legally.
Motorists arrested for allegedly driving while impaired might wonder, “Can you refuse a breathalyzer?” In Minnesota, the implied consent law requires a person licensed to drive, control, or operate a vehicle to agree to a chemical test to check for alcohol or other intoxicants in that person’s body. Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or another chemical test is a crime, often charged as a gross misdemeanor.