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Drunk Drivers, DWI "Drug Court" Treatment, and Recidivism: Who Fails?

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2000 Pages: 87-105
Date Published
19 pages

This study evaluates an experimental Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Drug Court treatment program.


The experimental DWI treatment program was operated by a single municipal court. Specially trained court personnel assessed first- and some second-time DWI offenders for symptoms of alcoholism. Once court personnel reached a clinical determination that an individual was an alcoholic, research team members randomly assigned that person to either the treatment program or to a control group receiving normal municipal court processing. A third group consisted of a like number of randomly selected, nonalcoholic, first-time offenders. The conviction records of all three groups were tracked for up to 24 months following the initial DWI conviction. The nonalcoholic group had significantly fewer alcohol-related and other serious crime reconvictions. Among those determined to be alcoholic, the treatment group had significantly fewer reconvictions than the control group. The article addresses the implications and limitations of the findings for similar experimental studies in criminal justice and for DWI Drug Court treatment programs. Notes, tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 2000