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Drunk Drivers and Community Service - A Study to Determine If Short Term Group Counseling Will Enhance Compliance

NCJ Number
J R L Stevenson
Date Published
102 pages
To determine the effects of short-term group counseling on the compliance of second-offense drunk drivers with court-ordered community service, a proportional stratified random sample of 52 offenders was equally divided among 2 experimental (counseling) and 2 control groups.
Experimental subjects participated in a 6-week, Rogerian, nonjudgmental, counseling group meeting at the Camden, N.J., Probation Department. Meetings involved discussions of drunk-driving law and penalties, and the consequences of the loss of driving privileges, problem drinking and coping in a society where drinking is socially acceptable, setting short- and long-term goals, and personal questions and concerns. One and 2 months following termination of counseling, experimental and control groups were assessed for compliance using probation department day books. Community service compliance was rated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. At 1-month followup, experimentals showed 95.5 percent satisfactory compliance as compared to 34.5 percent for no-counseling controls. Two-month followup indicated a satisfactory compliance rate of 90.5 percent for experimentals and 46 percent for controls. Chi-square analysis for the combined sample of 47 cases (5 experimentals who failed to attend counseling meetings were excluded) indicated significance at the .005 level, providing strong evidence that group attendance and adjustment to community service were related. Thus, it is concluded that second-offense drunk drivers ordered to perform community service will be more successful if they receive some type of counseling. A literature review is provided, and implications for future research are discussed. Extensive tabular data, group exercises, and a 75-item bibliography also are included.