DUI Courts Cut Recidivism, But More Research Needed on Why

A new study from Pire’s Behavioral Health Research Center finds that drunk-driving recidivism declines when offenders are sent to DUI courts and ordered to wear electronic monitoring devices and sell their cars, but experts say that it remains unclear exactly what makes the courts effective.

A PIRE press release noted that DUI courts can prescribe a range of sanctions against offenders, including intensive probation, random drug testing, and addiction treatment. “While evidence indicates that these court intervention programs and DUI courts reduce recidivism, few studies have tried to determine what exactly accounts for their success,” said study author Sandra Lapham, M.D.

The study of a DUI court in Portland, Ore., found that arrest rates declined 96 percent among offenders forced to sell their vehicles, while those who wore monitoring devices were four times less likely to re-offend. “But the positive effects of electronic monitoring may be short lived because the re-offense rates increased over time, and after 3 years were similar to those without monitoring devices,” Lapham said. “Therefore, the search for the active ingredient in this successful intervention continues.”

The study was published in the October 2007 issue of the journal Addiction.

Research Reference: Lapham, SC, C’de Baca, J, Lapidus, J, McMillan, GP. (2007) Randomized sanctions to reduce re-offense among repeat impaired-driving offenders. Addiction, 102(10): 1618–1625.

From; Join Together Online