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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

Tribunal Metropolitano del Condado de Bernalillo

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DWI Recovery Court’s Recidivism Rate Hits Record Low

08/14/2018

The recidivism rate for Metro Court’s DWI Recovery Court is at an all-time low of 4.2%, down from the 5.4% re-offense rate that the program held from 2014 to 2017.

“These results are exceptional because of the high-risk population that we are treating in the program.  Many of the individuals have struggled with severe alcohol addiction and have undergone a complete transformation with the program’s help,” said DWI Recovery Court Judge Edward L. Benavidez.  

The DWI Recovery Court, formally known as Drug Court, is open to non-violent defendants who have been previously convicted of misdemeanor DWI offenses.  Participation in the DWI Recovery Court is voluntary. Repeat DWI offenders face 90 to 364 days in jail and have the option of serving their sentences behind bars or entering into the program.

Participants are required to attend frequent court sessions where the judge assesses progress and setbacks and imposes sanctions when necessary.  Participants are under intensive probation supervision, must undergo treatment with group and individual counseling, are required to attend community based support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are required to complete mandatory community service hours and must obtain employment or be enrolled in school - all things they would not have been able to do had they served their sentences behind bars.  The average stay for participants in the program is 14 months.

“The program’s goal is more than rehabilitation.  We want participants to improve the overall quality of their lives.  From obtaining employment to strengthening family relationships, we provide guidance and support to help people get back on track,” said Judge Benavidez.  

The DWI Recovery Court not only saves lives, it saves taxpayer dollars.  The current cost of incarceration at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center is $120 per day per inmate.  The daily cost to taxpayers per participant enrolled in the DWI Recovery Court is substantially lower at $18 per day.

“With 100 people in the program at any given time, Metro’s DWI Recovery Court saves taxpayers one million dollars annually, which is something I’m sure our legislators can appreciate.  And, the savings go beyond dollars. Lives are saved. Our streets are safer, and people are able to achieve successes that were previously unattainable,” added Judge Benavidez.

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