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A better solution for DUI?

One reason the criminal justice system often fails to adequately address an issue is that it is often called upon to deal with complex human behavior with a simple, often meaning cheap, solution.

Look at the issues of DUI highlights many of these problems. Some people may be charged with a DUI after they have one drink too many at a local bar or restaurant. The threat of a criminal sentence may be enough to alter their behavior to avoid any further charges. For others who suffer from a substance abuse problem, being convicted and sentenced to jail in Missouri is unlikely to significantly affect their behavior.

They likely will exit prison or jail with their substance abuse untreated and quickly return to the same behavioral patterns that led to their previous arrest. A study published in the medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry found that close monitoring of those with alcohol-linked crimes led to fewer deaths.

The program called 24/7 Sobriety appears to have produced a reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths. Because participants were required to wear alcohol-sensing bracelets or take twice-per-day breath tests, it forced them to eliminate their alcohol consumption, and led to fewer drunk-driving deaths or other alcohol-related violence.

This is a complex program and providing this level of supervision is demanding and expensive. But an earlier study of this program found that it reduced drunk driving arrests at the county level by 12 percent.

This is much more effective at actually working a real change in the lives of those with substance abuse problem than the traditional law enforcement response of merely locking people up or creating longer sentences.

Source; ktbs.com, "Frequent monitoring may keep alcohol offenders sober," HealthDay News, February 11, 2016

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