Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Denver County Court Sobriety Court

Denver County Court is launching its new Sobriety Court this spring, targeting repeat drunk drivers with an effective combination of supervision, treatment and sanctions in an effort to improve public safety.

In announcing the new Court program, Presiding Denver County Court Judge John Marcucci praised the collaborative work that has created Sobriety Court and noted its ultimate goal. “The mission is to reduce recidivism among alcohol offenders and to accomplish this through an interdisciplinary approach that includes intensive supervision, individualized treatment, and personal accountability through frequent judicial review,” he explains. “A fully dedicated Sobriety Court will enhance public safety and community welfare.”

Denver’s Sobriety Court is designed to address the ongoing challenge of repeat alcohol offenders for whom traditional sentencing has not worked. It is estimated that there are more than 2-million impaired drivers with three or more DUI convictions in the United States and that approximately 20-percent of Denver’s DUI defendants each year are repeat offenders.Denver County Court Judge Brian Campbell will preside over Sobriety Court. Defendants participating in the program will be tested regularly for alcohol use and are required to appear in court weekly. They receive incentives for doing well and are penalized for non-compliance. Participants also receive long-term, rigorous treatment designed to address a core issue with repeat offenders.

“I have seen too many of these offenders emerge from the criminal justice system only to reoffend and appear right back in court on a DUI charge because the underlying cause of the behavior has not been addressed: alcohol addiction. Denver Sobriety Court is our solution,” said Denver County Court Judge Mary Celeste, an early proponent of the specialized court program.

A recent study found that repeat offenders who take part in a DUI court program are 19 times less likely to drink and drive than those in traditional court, and are 3 times less likely to commit any other offense. The study also found savings in time and money by getting impaired drivers under supervision and into treatment more quickly and using sanctions, including jail, more strategically.

Press Release

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