Success Rate Touted for Local Georgia DUI Court

Courts that combine traditional sentences for drunken driving with treatment for repeat offenders have succeeded and the state should invest more funding in the initiatives, supporters said Friday.

A report released Friday said the rate of recidivism was 9 percent for graduates from three of Georgia’s earliest DUI courts, based in Athens, Chatham County and Hall County, compared to 24 percent for offenders in different counties that didn’t have the courts.

“Treatment with supervision works with hard-core drunken driving offenders,” said Clarke County State Court Judge Kent Lawrence, who handles Athens’ DUI court.

In the DUI court system, offenders are incarcerated for a while, but then enter a treatment program under court supervision. If the offender violates the terms of the treatment program, he or she can be jailed again, for progressively longer stays with each violation.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Monday, October 27, 2008

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