Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Olmsted County Drug Court

Posted at: 02/26/2013 10:09 PM
Updated at: 02/26/2013 10:16 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 News) -- Minnesota lawmakers are in the process of deciding whether or not to fund a drug court in Olmsted County. Tuesday, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem testified at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Finance Committee. He pushed for funding of the drug court, saying it's something the county needs.

Drug courts work to keep drug addicts out of jail; instead focusing on treatment options. The goal is to save money by preventing them from re-offending. Right now, there are 38 drug courts in Minnesota, and a recent evaluation shows they appear to be working. Ostrem says he doesn't just want a drug court, but eventually an entirely new judiciary unit.

"We talked about family dependency courts, we talked about domestic violence courts, there's a whole host of specialty courts that, if we just had the judiciary resources, we could try some of those," said Ostrem.

The bill is authored by Representative Kim Norton of Rochester. The Senate Judiciary Finance Committee still needs to vote on it, before it could move forward to the House and Senate floors.