Thank you for the opportunity to appear on your program (Landmark Live). We were able to quickly cover general information regarding the Platte County DWI Court (known as PCD). I wanted to provide some more detail of our program as a follow-up.
Our program mission statement is as follows:
“The mission of the Platte County DWI Court is to reduce the incidence of repeat DWI offenses thereby improving public safety and reducing the cost of such offenses to the community. The PCDC utilizes evidence-based treatment, combined with judicial monitoring and intensive supervision to encourage the participant to become a responsible and accountable citizen.”
Our goal is to reduce the risk of repeat offenses while providing a treatment-based alternative to incarceration. All too often, we have seen those who have served time in prison for this offense only to return with a new DWI charge. Prison has not been as effective a deterrent as one might think. Our program is about promoting long-term recovery for all our participants.
Participants enter our program with numerous demands, including: Wearing a SCRAM alcohol monitoring device for a minimum of 90 days; attend twice-weekly group counseling sessions and once weekly individual counseling; calling in every day to find out if they must provide a urine sample to our testing entity; meeting with their probation officer at least twice monthly and appearing in court before the judge twice monthly.
Twice per month, I receive a detailed report from the counselors regarding the progress of each participant. The information includes days of sobriety, the extent of participation in counseling sessions, employment, etc. We review each participant in a staff meeting held prior to each court session. In the event of a violation (e.g. failure to call in to TOMO, failure to submit urine test, driving, dirty urine test), a special hearing is set for that individual to address the transgression as quickly as possible. The program is about accountability. The rigors of the program are far in excess of standard probation or parole restrictions.
As discussed, the prosecutor’s office conveys the offer of participating in our program as alternative to incarceration. The defendant must choose to be in the program. Those who have seriously injured or killed someone in the commission of their DWI are not permitted in the program. We have now had 159 graduates from the program in the past 10 years. There have been 11 participants terminated from the program during that period of time.
Of those who have graduated, three individuals have been convicted of a new felony DWI. One of those individuals has received two new DWI convictions. As Mr. Zahnd pointed out, the recidivism rate is much higher for those individuals who go to prison and do not participate in a DWI court. They also report that over two million people have three or more DWI convictions.
We continue to tweak our program as we obtain the latest training and receive new data. No system is perfect and we certainly strive to be as good as we can be. We are hopeful that the program graduates will continue to use self-help programs such as AA, Celebrate Recovery or any such self-help group after they leave the program. Data has shown that continuing to attend such group meetings or to become a sponsor increases the likelihood of sustained recovery. Your guest, Mr. Hansen, who has 10 years of sobriety, continues to attend such meetings even if he is out of town and he serves as a mentor as well.
Thank your for your kind attention.