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Quality Justice

The following are some of the ways the Stevens County Attorney’s Office has sought to improve the quality of justice in our county:

  • Stevens County is a member of the Eighth Judicial District Treatment Court.  Violators of certain non-violent drug and alcohol related offenses may qualify for Treatment Court.  Many times this means offenders avoid prison in exchange for their participation in this intense program.  Requirements include attending court every other week, at least twice weekly random tests, successfully completing a drug treatment program, attending AA/NA or a similar program, journaling, at least 30 hours per week of productive activity including work or schooling, and complete a community service project.   The program has multiple phases.  Participants graduate the program after successfully completing all phases.   Statistic show that successful graduates of treatment courts re-offend at much lower rates and keeping them out of prison and the court system saves taxpayers money.   http://www.mncourts.gov/help-topics/treatment-courts.aspx

  • Domestic abuse and sexual assault are crimes that are difficult to understand for the general public as well as those of us who work in the justice system.  For instance, in domestic assaults it is common for victims to recant (say the abuse didn’t happen) and support their abuser.  In sexual assaults victims often don’t fight or resist during the assault, they don’t report the crime right away, and many times don’t show signs of distress after the assault or on the witness stand.  Perhaps because of movies and media the public is trained to look for these things in victims and if they don’t see it, they interpret it as the victim not telling the truth.  In fact, false reports of sexual assaults are extremely rare.  (Prevalence of false allegations of sexual assault is between 2% and 10%.  Lisak, D., et al., False Allegations of Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases, Violence Against Women (2010), 16, 1318-1334.)   

  • Much research has been done in recent years to bring a more trauma informed practice to the way these cases are handled.  The following organizations provide a wealth of information and resources to victims of these crimes as well as information on understanding the nature of these crimes as well as typical victim responses:  

    • Someplace Safe.  Organization providing services to West Central Minnesota crime victims and their families.  www.someplacesafe.info