Friends of the Drug Court of Winona County


Realizing that public funding alone cannot sustain Drug Court of Winona County (DCWC), several members of the drug court team — working with other community members and a drug court graduate — recently established Friends of the Drug Court, a nonprofit entity housed as a special fund at the Winona Community Foundation. It provides financial support for smaller expenses of the program for which none of the current grant/government funding pays, such as incentives for participants and other incidentals which may be minimal in cost, but contribute a vital role in a participant’s success in the program.

Examples of items that might be covered include:

• Housing (temporary)
• Transportation (i.e. bus passes)
• Medications/medical/dental appointments not covered by insurance
• Funding for memberships of existing groups in the community (such as Winona Family YMCA or other health-related organizations)
• Application fees for additional schooling
• Unforeseen emergencies
• Team-building/family activities

Team members (drug court professionals and volunteers) determine, with the participant, what may be needed, wanted, and/or helpful.

Participants must be in good standing with the drug court and working the program to be eligible. After-care attendees who participate monthly for one year after graduation are also eligible.

The goals of Friends of the Drug Court are to supply participants with items and experiences (not allowed for by grant funding) that will enhance the mental, physical, and spiritual help of participants and keep them on the path to success; and to provide unity among drug court members and provide them with activities that will allow them to maintain a healthy, drug-free life for not only them, but their families as well.

What has the friends group done so far?

In July, it provided T-shirts, transportation and other items so participants could take part in SoberFest, an annual event held in Kasson. It’s a day filled with healthy activities such as a softball tournament with members of other drug courts, food, games, etc.

Currently, the group is partnering with Winona Volunteer Services, the Minnesota Department of Health (through a small grant), and Paperbacks and Pieces to provide healthy cooking classes for 10 members of drug court. They have learned how to shop well, frugally, and healthily; they are currently participating in cooking lessons and are being provided with a crockpot, several cookbooks, and basic cooking necessities. They are often in the process of regaining custody of their children. These tools allow the families to have healthy meals and spend time together as they begin to again fully participate in the community.

If you’re interested in learning more about the friends group, or becoming involved, contact drug court coordinator Cain Hyter at

To help financially (all contributions are tax-deductible) please send your gift of any size to Friends of the Drug Court, c/o Winona Community Foundation, 51 East Fourth Street, #314, Winona, Minn., 55987.

Drug Court of Winona County

The goal of the DCWC is to provide participants with the tools needed to change their life circumstances and an opportunity to break the cycle of substance abuse and crime. Participants work with a team of criminal justice stakeholders (DCWC team) who are committed to helping improve their lives. The DCWC team wishes to celebrate the recovery and eventual graduation from the DCWC with each participant. DCWC helps participants achieve this goal through the supervision and support of the DCWC team and judge, chemical dependency treatment, mental health treatment, intensive probation supervision, training and educational services, and drug testing.

Any participant who enters into the drug court program remains on probation under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Drug court is not a substitute for probation. Drug court is a condition of probation. Should a participant fail to successfully complete the drug court program, he/she would likely face a probation violation in district court, with the possibility of an executed prison sentence.

Participants of the DCWC enter into and progress through four phases, with an additional fifth phase that is intended to help those that relapse after successful graduation. Each phase lasts for a minimum of three to four months. Individual treatment and supervision case plans are wide-ranging, monitored, and updated frequently to reflect accomplished goals and individual progress.

Participants must attend and successfully complete any treatment and programming that is recommended. Treatment and programming are key to breaking the cycle of substance abuse and crime, while honesty and individual accountability are the foundation of the program.

If you have any questions or interest in the program please contact Hyter at or call 507-457-6434.


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