(651) 266-9256, fax: (651) 767-8940
Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court (ASAC
) started in October 2002. ASAC is designed to provide individuals the opportunity to improve their lives and break the cycle of substance abuse. The court uses assessment, treatment (chemical and mental health), strict supervision, random drug and breath testing, regular court hearings and immediate sanctions and incentives to help participants maintain a drug free lifestyle. The program represents a closer working relationship between criminal justice partners (judge, prosecutor, defense attorneys, case managers, and treatment providers) than is traditionally seen in criminal courts. ASAC serves approximately 55 participants in any given day.
Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court’s mission is to enhance public safety by reducing criminal activity and assist substance abusers to become drug/alcohol free, productive, and law-abiding citizens.
- Reduce criminal recidivism among chemically addicted offenders
- Increase the number of offenders who remain drug and alcohol free
- Increase the benefit and reduce the cost to the County for providing services to chemically addicted offenders
- Create a response to substance abuse issues among all agencies in Ramsey County
Referral into the ASAC Program
If you think your case is eligible for diversion into Adult Substance Abuse Court or into one of the other problem-solving courts, contact the Treatment Court Supervisor.
- Adult Ramsey County resident
- Charged with a non-violent Felony offense
- Substance abuse/dependency diagnosis and a need for treatment
- Willingness to participate
The program is a minimum of 12 months in length and divided into three phases, each minimally four months in length. Movement through phases is based on accomplishment of general phase requirements as well as specific case plan goals. Program components include (but not limited to) chemical dependency assessment, treatment, and aftercare, assessment for participation in other programming (cognitive learning groups, mental health interventions), random alcohol and drug testing, regular court appearances, case management meetings, attendance of community support groups, obtain employment or pursue education, participate in pro-social activities, pay restitution and program fees. A formal graduation ceremony will be held to celebrate completion of the program.
Psychiatric Court Clinic (PCC)
The Psychiatric Court Clinic was developed for persons who suffer from co-occurring disorders (substance abuse and mental health) to bridge the gap between immediate intervention and community resources. The PCC provides screening and assessment, case planning, medication management and referral to community-based mental health agencies. Participants are eligible to receive services regardless of their insurance status. The PCC is staffed by a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse on a weekly basis. Participants meet with the doctor and nurse during court sessions for case review and medication checks.
Accomplishments and Impact
Ramsey County Adult Substance Abuse Court has a proven record of success of changing lives, reducing recidivism and lowering incarceration rates. Evaluation and outcome data reveal that ASAC graduates are less likely to commit a new offense, less likely to be convicted of a new offense, and less likely to spend time in jail than those in a comparison group. Mothers have given birth to 28 drug free babies while in the program. Graduates experienced a 44% reduction in their LSI-R scores (Level of Risk and Services) from program entry to exit.
The Honorable Mark R. Ireland
and Judith M. Tilsen
lead ASAC. The judges supervise participant progress through the RCMHC continuum based on regular hearings, team input, and participant behavior. They also lead the ASAC team in decision-making and hold participants accountable for their progress by use of sanctions and incentives. Marc Hedman
is the Program Coordinator for the Adult Substance Abuse Court (ASAC) in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 2010, the Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court was selected to serve a three-year term by the National Drug Court Institute as one of ten Adult Mentor Courts in the United States. In March 2013, the Ramsey County Substance Abuse Court was again selected for a three-year term by the National Drug Court Institute as one of ten Adult Mentor Courts in the United States.
On June 2, 2012 Judge Joanne Smith was inducted into The Stanley M. Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Nashville, TN. This is the highest achievement given to drug court professionals with only 22 inductees since 2002.
ASAC Prosecutor, Kim Bingham, won the Metro Area Prosecutor Award at the MADD Statewide Recognition Ceremony in March 2012.
Please contact the Treatment Courts Supervisor for additional information: