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Published May 18, 2010, 10:24 PM

GF Juvenile Drug Court Celebrates Ten Years

It’s not your traditional court system, but drug courts have proven to often be more cost effective. The Grand Forks Juvenile Drug Court is celebrating ten years this week.

It’s not your traditional court system, but drug courts have proven to often be more cost effective. The Grand Forks Juvenile Drug Court is celebrating ten years this week.

Under the drug court program, non-violent drug offenders, who plead guilty and who want to tackle their addiction problems undergo a rigorous monitoring and treatment program.

Assistant Stat’s Attorney Dale Rivard says, "After you go into the drug program, if you successfully complete the program, the charge that brings you into drug court is dismissed."

Rivard is one of a group of people who helps with the Grand Forks Drug Court program. He's been working with the program for seven years.

"When we have a person that comes into drug court, and they have been using, all of a sudden after they get the substance out of their body they start coming clean. You see this different child,” says Rivard.

Those in drug court spend about an hour each week at the courthouse for a year.

Rivard says, "It's very structured. We monitor if they're going to be at home. We monitor the school, and any problems that you have."

Around ten students are in each drug court class in Grand Forks. Rivard says as long as they complete the program, students are very successful in overcoming their addiction. A recent study by the Department of Justice found a benefit of more than three and a half dollars for every dollar invested in treating the offender.

Rivard says, "If we can keep them in the community and work with the probation officers and work with everybody here, it's definitely beneficial for the family, for the participant, and of course for the state as well."

There will be a ten year anniversary celebration for the Grand Forks Juvenile Drug Court at the Alerus Center on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

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