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Program Profile: Idaho DUI Courts and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on May 25, 2011

Program Summary

The program uses courts in a comprehensive approach to address the underlying causes of driving under the influence by aiming to change the behavior of alcohol and/or drug dependent offenders. The program is rated Promising. The treatment group had a statistically significantly lower recidivism rate than the comparison group (measured as new court filings and multiple charges filed). The comparison group was also significantly more likely to fail sooner than the treatment group.

Program Description

Program Goals
Idaho’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Courts and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts use a comprehensive approach to address the underlying causes of driving under the influence. The approach involves a collaboration of various criminal justice actors, including judges, probation officers, and community-based service providers. DUI Courts focus primarily on altering the behavior of alcohol and/or drug-dependent offenders arrested for DUI or driving while impaired (DWI). Misdemeanor/DUI Courts are similar to DUI courts, but allow offenders with misdemeanor charges other than DUI or DWI to participate.

In Idaho, there are eight Misdemeanor/DUI Courts and four DUI Courts serving participants in at least 15 counties. The DUI courts are located in the counties of Bannock, Kootenai, Nez Perce, and Twin Falls. The Misdemeanor/DUI courts are located in the counties of Bingham, Bonneville, Butte/Custer, Caribou, Madison/Jefferson/Fremont, Oneida, Power, and Teton.

Target Population/Eligibility
Participation in DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts in Idaho is voluntary. For each court, the admission process determines eligibility of offenders by examining three key issues:
  • Offenders are not eligible if they have committed any current or prior violent or sexual offenses.
  • Offenders are eligible if they have undergone an assessment to determine if they have a substance use disorder.
  • Offenders are eligible if they have been assessed to determine their risk level for criminal behavior (as determined by the Level of Service Inventory – Revised). They should be classified as medium-high to high risk to participate.
Once a potential participant meets the eligibility criteria, and the DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court team agrees that the offender should be accepted, the offender is asked if they want to participate. Those who “accept” to participate enter and begin the process of DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court. Those who are “accepted but decline” are routed through the traditional criminal justice system.

Program Components
The main program components of the DUI Courts and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts across Idaho vary by location, but most share similar objectives and procedures. The following is an example of a DUI Court in Kootenai County, Idaho.

Kootenai County DUI Court
The Kootenai County DUI Court requires participants to complete four phases of the treatment court program. Phase 1 includes:
  • Random weekly drug testing
  • Twice-monthly appearances before the judge
  • Attendance at 30 self-help (Alcoholics Anonymous [AA]/Narcotics Anonymous [NA]) meetings in the 1st month
  • Meetings with a probation officer at least 4 times a month
  • Attendance at 3 group sessions per week while also attending individual sessions with a primary counselor
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock device for a minimum of 60 days
  • A minimum of 2 days on the Sheriff’s Labor Program
The DUI Court follows a graduated sanctions approach, so that as a participant fulfills the requirements in the first phase, by phase 2 the requirements are less severe. For instance, participants are still required to complete weekly random drug tests, but they are only required to attend at least two self-help meetings a week, as opposed to one a day. Participants only appear before the judge as scheduled, and they are required to meet with their probation officer at least twice a month, instead of four times a month. In addition, during phase 2, participants are also eligible for a restricted license; eligibility is determined by a participant’s commitment to the program.

By phase 3, participants are still required to submit to drug tests once a week on a random basis and attend two self-help meetings a week, but they only appear before the judge and meet with the probation officer as scheduled. Participants are only required to attend one group session per week but must still meet with their primary counselor for individual sessions. In the final phase, phase 4, participants are only drug tested at least once a month on a random basis. They appear before the judge and meet with their probation officer as scheduled (usually once a month), and they must attend at least two self-help meetings a week.

Program participants are sanctioned if they do not comply with treatment requirements or probation conditions or do not attend mandatory meetings. Possible sanctions include return to a prior phase, increased AA/NA meetings, increased drug testing, electronic monitoring, jail time, or community service hours. In order to graduate, participants must have at least 180 current, continuous, clear/sober days that do not include inpatient time. They must also prepare a graduation speech and present it in court.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Recidivism: New Court Filing
Ronan, Collins, and Rosky (2009) found that 23 percent of the DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Court participants in Idaho had new charges filed against them, compared with 37 percent of the comparison group. This difference was statistically significant.

Recidivism: Multiple Charges Filed
Of those who did recidivate, 19.0 percent of the comparison group had multiple charges filed against them in court, whereas only 8.3 percent of the treatment group had multiple charges. This difference was statistically significant.

Time to Failure (Charges Filed)
The survival analysis showed the comparison group was more likely to fail sooner than the treatment group. This difference was statistically significant.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Ronan, Collins, and Rosky (2009) conducted an evaluation to assess whether the Idaho DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts reduced the rate of recidivism of program participants compared to a non-equivalent control group. The study evaluated four courts in Idaho: Bannock DUI Court, Kootenai DUI Court, Bonneville Misdemeanor/DUI Court, and Bingham Misdemeanor/DUI Court.

The treatment group included individuals selected from the automated database within the drug court module, called the Idaho Statewide Trial Court Automated Records System (ISTARS). All court records for the treatment group between January 2002 and September 2005 were collected, resulting in a sample of 216 participants who entered the courts with a primary DUI charge. The comparison group was identified through ISTARS and matched by age, gender, and geographical location (by county). Individuals in the comparison group had been accepted into the treatment courts but declined to enter: They had met all the eligibility requirements for the courts but had chosen not to participate in a DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court. This resulted in a sample of 200 individuals. The study authors noted that there is a limitation to selecting a comparison group of individuals who were accepted into the program but had declined to participate, because those who refuse treatment may have fundamental differences from those individuals who had decided to participate in a substance abuse treatment program. Ronan and colleagues argued, however, that they had wanted a comparison group that matched the treatment group on variables and factors related to addiction.

The treatment group was 76 percent male, with an average age of 38.4 years. The comparison group was also 76 percent male, with an average age of 40.5 years. The majority of the treatment group (76 percent) participated in DUI courts in Bannock and Kootenai; the remaining 24 percent participated in Misdemeanor/DUI courts in Bingham and Bonneville. For the comparison group, 96 percent were accepted but did not participate in DUI courts in Bannock and Kootenai, while the remaining 4 percent were accepted but did not participate in Misdemeanor/DUI courts in Bingham and Booneville.

Recidivism was defined as any felony or misdemeanor court filing charge resulting in a guilty disposition that had an issue date at least 60 days post intake/action date. The intake/action date refers to the date of the individual’s decision to either enter, or decline participation in, DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court. A window of 60 days was used to reduce the likelihood that a new court filing is connected to the initial incident. Court filing records were obtained through ISTARS from January 2002 through June 2006.

The study relied on bivariate analysis to compare recidivism rates between the treatment and comparison group. The study also used survival analysis (Cox proportional hazard model) to determine the influence of treatment type, gender, and age on recidivism.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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The analysis by Ronan, Collins, and Rosky (2009) also examined the recidivism rates for the DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Court participants who graduated, the participants who didn’t graduate (unsuccessful terminations of the courts), and the comparison group. Of the DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Court participants, 164 graduated, and 50 were unsuccessfully terminated from the court program. Of the court graduates, only 18 percent recidivated, compared with 38 percent of the DUI court participants who were unsuccessfully terminated from the program and 37 percent of the comparison group. These differences were all statistically significant.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Ronan, Scott M., Peter A. Collins, and Jeffrey W. Rosky. 2009. “The Effectiveness of Idaho DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts: Outcome Evaluation.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 48(2):154–65.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Crancer, Alfred. 2003. “An Analysis of Idaho’s Kootenai County DUI Court: An Alcohol Treatment Program for Persons Arrested for Their Second DUI Offense or BAC of 0.20% or Higher.” Seattle, Wash.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Region X.

Kootenai County, Idaho. N/d. “DUI Court.” Accessed Feb. 1, 2011.
http://www.kcgov.us/departments/districtcourt/trialcourt/dui.asp
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Geography: Rural, Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, Courts

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, DUI/DWI Courts

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Researcher:
Scott M. Ronan
Idaho Statewide Drug Court Felony Sentencing Alter
Idaho Supreme Court
PO Box 83720
Boise ID 83720
Phone: 208.947.7406
Website
Email