Program Type: DWI/Drug-Court
Program  Location: New York
Lead Agency: Brooklyn DWI Treatment Court

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office

Outpatient alcohol and substance abuse treatment centers such as Outreach Project, New Directions and Bridge Back to Life

Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.

The Issue Treatment
Program Target Population: Hardcore Offenders

Program Description:

The Brooklyn DWI Treatment Court (BDWI Court) was established to address the increasing number of felony level DWI arrests in King County, NY. Through early intervention, immediate placement of clients in specially designed treatment programs and close supervision, BDWI Court is committed to reducing DWI offenses. It was modeled after The Brooklyn Treatment Court, which was the first drug court in the state and nationally recognized.

Following arrest, offenders have the choice to participate in the BDWI Court or go through the regular criminal court process. If they choose the BDWI Court, the offender will then go through a bio-psychosocial assessment to determine level of treatment needed, as well as a urine toxicology and breathalyzer test. The offender is also placed on a secured continuous remote alcohol monitor (SCRAM) for a minimum of 90 days. Following the initial screening and placement, offenders are required to meet with their BDWI Court case manager on a weekly basis, as well as attend recommended treatment.

The BDWI Court program is completed in three phases, each lasting four to six months:

Phase I: Choice

The goal of this phase is to encourage offenders to work towards an alcohol-free life and establish a foundation of alcohol abstinence. Offenders are placed in appropriate community-based treatment, aim to acquire health care and go through detoxification.

Phase II: Change

In this phase the focus is on stabilizing the offender through treatment and helping them confront underlying issues surrounding the alcohol and substance abuse. The offenders progress through individual treatment program levels and in identified areas of need such as anger management or domestic violence. They also re-connect with family.

Phase III: Challenge

In the final phase, offenders focus on self-sufficiency and reconnect with the community at large. The goals are to internalize recovery tools and daily coping skills, reconnect with the community at large and succeed in employment and vocational training. The offender must also participate in a Victim Impact Panel.

Upon successful completion, the offender’s charges will be reduced from a Felony to a Misdemeanor.

Program Effectiveness:

The individualized treatment plans as well as frequent monitoring help offenders regain control of their lives, accept and learn to cope with their addiction and create a healthy lifestyle so they can contribute in a positive way to society. Through this process, the BDWI Court can achieve its goal of eliminating incidents of impaired driving by participating offenders.

Sources of Funding:

  • Part of the court system operational budget
  • Offenders pay daily fees ($11) for the SCRAM device
  • Offenders are responsible for paying a $100 fee to participate in the Victim Impact Panel

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Creating a partnership with the District Attorney’s office
  • Overcoming resistance to consider alcohol abuse/dependence a disease
  • Accommodating offender hardships

For more information on this program, please contact:

Joseph Madonia