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DWI Recidivism: Risk Implications for Community Supervision

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 75 Issue: 3 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 19-24
Matthew DeMichele; Nathan C. Lowe
Date Published
December 2011
6 pages
This article describes the development of a pilot risk-assessment tool for classifying DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders on community supervision, and key findings are presented from the statistical analysis of the nearly 4,000 DWI offenders in the study sample.
The project used statistical techniques in order to identify the most effective and efficient set of items from the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), which consists of 54 items and is used as a risk assessment tool for offenders in general, and the Alcohol Severity Use Survey (ASUS), which consists of 94 items and is used to measure the level of alcohol abuse or addiction of offenders. The resulting items were used to assess the risk of recidivism for 3,884 convicted DWI offenders from a Southwestern State. The main purpose of the analysis was to determine the unique differences between single and multiple DWI offenders, so as to develop a risk assessment tool that can reliably predict DWI recidivism. Four main findings emerged from the analysis. First, the level of alcohol or drug use disorder was not the underlying characteristic that shaped DWI recidivism. Second, neither the LSI-R or the ASUS were designed to measure DWI recidivism. Third, DWI recidivism is a separate phenomenon from general recidivism. Specific decisions are made by individuals in relation to drunken driving, and these decisions may be related to general forms of deviance, risky driving behaviors, and/or a lack of respect for the law. Fourth, several statistical associations were found between the LSI-R and ASUS items that provide some help in developing a DWI risk assessment instrument. The assessment tool developed is called the DWI-Recidivism (DWI-R) risk assessment tool. It is divided into seven domains. These domains are described in this article, and practice and policy implications are drawn. 1 table and 32 references