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Intervention programs help reduce repeat OWI offenses: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about pretrial intensive supervision programs (ISPs). These programs are operating in 11 Wisconsin counties (including Waukesha) and were first introduced in Wisconsin in 1993.

Pretrial intensive supervision programs offer a humane and effective solution to the problem of repeat OWI offenses. They are a collaborative effort between repeat offenders, law enforcement and the courts to help the offender reform through treatment of alcohol addiction and other accountability measures.

ISPs have been implemented in just 11 counties, but a recent evaluation by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) shows that they are beneficial to the entire state.

According to the WisDOT evaluation, approximately 3,813 repeat offenders participated in an ISP in 2010. Of those participants, 80 percent successfully completed their program.

Because ISPs focus on reducing repeat offenses through treatment rather than just punishment, the programs also reduce jail time and expenses. The WisDOT evaluation shows that between October of 2009 and the same time in 2010, counties with ISPs saved 74,440 jail days.

Since not all participating counties reported these statistics, the number of saved jail days could be even higher. Less jail time is not only good for repeat offenders. A reduced jail population has likely saved millions in taxpayer money which can now be put to use elsewhere.

Most importantly, though, these ISPs offer a humane solution for reducing drunk driving on Wisconsin roads. A representative of WisDOT says: "The intensive supervision programs work to change behaviors and prevent situations where people drive drunk and injure or kill themselves or others."

An endorsement like that might just speak for itself.

Source: northlandnewscenter.com, "WI Implements Intensive Program For Repeat Drunken Drivers," Melissa Burlaga, 28 June 2011

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