Justice Mary Muehlen Maring
Judge Bruce Romanick
Judge Karen Braaten
Dr. Kevin Thompson
Dr. Rodney Swenson
The Juvenile Drug Court Advisory Committee met at the Kelly Inn in Fargo on April 25, 2003. Prior to the meeting, Dr. Rodney Swenson, Neuropsychology Associates, spoke on the effects of drugs and alcohol on the adolescent brain. Carol Grim, from the Fargo Cass Public Health gave a presentation on tobacco, and Vicky Schmidt from Schmidt and Associates gave a presentation on drug adulteration.
The meeting was called to order by Justice Maring. The minutes of September 11, 2002, were approved.
Judge Karen Braaten reported for the Grand Forks team. They have twelve participants in the program. Heather James was hired as the new drug court coordinator. Shannon Ackley, a UND law student, is working with the State’s Attorney’s Office and drug court. They have been working on orientation and graduation issues. The dismissal of charges procedure has been changed. The court signs the dismissal order at graduation, and it is held in the file for six months. The order does not become effective until the graduate has remained crime, drug and alcohol offense free for six months following graduation. Judge Braaten is impressed with how well the team communicates and how supportive, dedicated, and generally concerned they are for the participants.
Kris Haycraft reported for the Fargo team. They have nine participants. Judge Norman Backes is the new drug court judge. There was discussion on the differences between a 13 year olds and 17 year olds needs in the program. Steve Mottinger stated that they do have some difficult kids and that they might have to change their expectations as to what success is. He is frustrated because they do not have the money to deal with these kids. Many of the kids do not have resources through private insurance. Justice Maring suggested that dealing with dual diagnosis be discussed at the strategic planning meeting. She also stated that some courts will not take kids who are close to 18 or that are dual diagnosed. Melody Peterson talked about having state-wide treatment providers meet, people from both the juvenile and adult drug courts, to talk about the treatment components and how to interface this with the cooperative efforts of juvenile court and tracking services, etc.
Judge Romanick reported for the Bismarck team. He spoke at the Law Enforcement Academy regarding the drug court program and hopes to be able to continue meeting with the new recruits. Judge Braaten and Judge Romanick attended training on addiction in Reno, Nevada. The South Central Juvenile Drug Court has been running since October and has 10 participants. He stated he is using the Youth Correctional Center as a time-out place. Discussion followed on using time-out and detention. Judge Romanick said that Bismarck does have an in-school tobacco program and that they do not use it as a sanction. Justice Maring suggested if someone does want to get a speaker on tobacco that they should follow up on the suggestions Carol Grimm from Fargo Cass Public Health provided.
Shannon Huber, the coordinator for Bismarck, said she is struggling with the trackers handling of misinformation and wanting to sanction the participants. They have decided that the trackers will not be allowed to test the participants in school for confidentiality reasons. She is concerned their drug court team might not be giving enough incentives versus sanctions and needs suggestions on how to use incentives for parents. Justice Maring suggested they just be patient because it takes time to become a team and to learn how to handle the ups and downs of their court. Judge Braaten stated they have a monthly drawing for the parents and occasionally give the parents and child a gift certificate. Deb Carlson stated how important it is for the kids to have their parents in court. Judge Braaten also stated how important it is for the prosecutor or defense attorney to say something positive during the court session because the participant might not be used to getting praise.
Dr. Swenson stated that they have found the kinds of youth he deals with have never benefitted from punishment. They do not benefit from the negative consequences of their behavior. The only thing they find successful when treating brain injury patients is the use of positive reinforcement. He stated that the things we think of as sanctions and incentives do not typically work and that maybe we should look at treatment literature for brain patients and see what contingency models they use.
The committee discussed tobacco usage among the participants. Justice Maring and Marilyn Moe met with those involved in the tobacco programs in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck. Justice Maring said she was aware that the courts feel tobacco is the least of their worries, but at a minimum, if we are aware that there is tobacco use, we should get them involved in these programs, whenever possible. She is concerned about the connection between tobacco usage and the addiction of marijuana. Dr. Kevin Thompson has completed a report on the connection between tobacco usage and marijuana.
Greg Wallace reported on staffing issues in regards to a full-time versus a part-time coordinator. This issue will be added to the strategic planning meeting.
Dr. Thompson suggested we discuss aftercare at the strategic planning meeting. He feels the weakness with this whole model is the lack of aftercare with the participants; not on the treatment side but more on the layperson side. The advisory committee has talked about using college juniors and seniors and about the potential of using law students. He feels there are a lot of UND social work and criminal justice students who would be willing to step forward and do some of the aftercare; modeled after something like the Big Brother and Big Sister Programs.
Dr. Kevin Thompson discussed the results of his cost-benefit analysis of the drug courts and a school report. Kevin reported that the out-of-home costs are high and that the courts are saving the state money. His report was based on 100 juveniles. The average time we have a juvenile in drug court is 7.5 months. The school report looked at grades and school attendance. Kevin would like to take another look at the Assessment Severity Index (ASI). He is concerned about the ASI’s being filled out right at the beginning of the participant’s program. If it takes a while for the brain to calm down as Dr. Swenson stated, maybe we would benefit by waiting for a month before the ASI is filled out for a better assessment of the participant’s needs.
Justice Maring reported that we have funding through September 2004. The judicial budget has $60,000 for drug courts. We will need about another $110,000 through the biennium. This is dependent upon finding funds from other grants. If there are no more cuts in the federal funding, we will see ourselves through the next biennium. Marilyn is checking into writing another implementation grant for the Bismarck court.
Brenda Kasparie from Fargo will facilitate the strategic planning meeting on May 7th in Fargo. Major issues are staffing, and the use of detention, sanctions and rewards. Marilyn Moe stated that Birch Burdick has agreed to chair the committee in place of Judge Erickson. Greg Wallace stated in regards to detention, that it not only involves the drug court but also others in the juvenile judicial system and the Association of Counties (who ends up paying the bill). He said that we could not resolve the detention issue but that we could come up with a plan on how to review the issue and how to move forward. Justice Maring also stated our state law does allow detention to be used to protect the child.
The board discussed the Policy and Procedures Manual. Judge Braaten agreed to chair this committee.
Marilyn Moe distributed Strategies of Court from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Melody Peterson stated that we need to have training regarding confidentiality and HIPPA requirements. After meeting with Krista Andrews from Human Services, Marilyn Moe and Greg Wallace found our Authorization for Disclosure is HIPAA compliant.
The next meeting will be set for September and will be held in Fargo.