Program Type: Probation
Program Location: New York
Lead Agency: Westchester County Department of Probation

Stakeholders throughout the system, such as the District Attorney, law enforcement andtreatment agencies

Mothers Against Drunk Driving
The Issue: Recidivism
Program Target Population: Repeat Offenders

Program Description

In Westchester County, 20 to 25% of all offenders placed on probation in an adult criminal court are a result of DWI or DWI-related offenses. The DWI enforcement program in the Westchester County Department of Probation seeks to focus efforts on preventing recidivism in order to protect the community. Through the supervision/management strategy, probationers have the best chance to identify their maladaptive behavior patterns and learn pro-social alternatives.

There are three units that receive all the cases of DWI offenders sentenced to probation in Westchester County; each with 20 officers and three supervisors. The staff maintains stringent conditions on probation through pre-sentence investigations, re-arrests when necessary, strict supervision, surveillance and ticket writing. Probationers are placed in treatment programs and closely monitored. The program also collaborates with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and probationers participate in Victim Impact Panels.

Other offenders who are required to use ignition interlock devices but not on probation are also monitored through the program.

Program Effectiveness:

Since the units are strictly focused on DWI offenders, this creates efficiency throughout the system and allows officers to have specialized training in dealing with DWI offenders. In addition, the program structure allows for a targeted approach in dealing with the offenders’ alcohol abuse/addiction issues.

According to an evaluation of intensive supervision programs for DUI offenders conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, probationers in the Westchester County DWI enforcement program had an 18.1% lower recidivism rate compared to offenders not in the program. Seventy-eight arrests were also prevented over a 5-year period.

Sources of Funding:

  • County and state reimbursement
  • Probationers are charged a monthly fee

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Buy-in from the Judiciary
  • Finding enough officers (especially in small probation departments)
  • Creating a collaborative relationship with treatment programs and other stakeholders
  • Securing the level of funding needed for extensive training of officers
  • Finding appropriate and accessible treatment services

Formal Evaluation(s) of Program:

An Evaluation of Intensive Supervision Programs for Serious DWI Offenders

An Evaluation of Three Intenstive Supervision Programs for Serious DWI Offenders

For more information on this program, please contact:

Ed Varela