These evaluations (screening, substance abuse assessment, and criminal record check) should be delivered in a timely manner (ideally pretrial but absolutely prior to sentencing) to
help ensure and expedite proper sentencing. Evaluations are particularly critical in dealing with hardcore drunk drivers because they provide information about their criminal record, propensity to re-offend, and about their drinking and driving habits. Whenever possible the evaluations should also screen for co-occurring mental health and drug issues (see CARS program in emerging practices section).
A major purpose of offender evaluation is to reduce recidivism by determining a defendant’s criminal risk and the nature of his/her alcohol involvement so appropriate treatment options can be identified and assigned. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Institute of Behavioral Research at Texas Christian University provide several good examples of substance abuse assessments. Additionally, a confidential and simple alcohol screening is available through the Partnership for a Drug-Free America at http://www.alcoholscreening.org/Home.aspx