A press release from the McHenry County Circuit Court:
22nd Judicial Circuit Receives DUI Court Grant from Bureau of Justice Assistance
(Woodstock, IL) The 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County is pleased to announce that it was notified by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs that its grant proposal for the creation of a DUI Court was approved.
The 22nd Judicial Circuit was awarded funding in the amount of $490,631, paid over a four year period of time.
The DUI Court, similar to the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Mental Health and Drug Courts, will focus on high risk, repeat felony DUI offenders. DUI offenders whose driving resulted in an injury to another will not be eligible to participate in this program.
Patrick Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, who has been involved with this project from the beginning, stated,
“[t]his is a wonderful example of how prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys can work together to create a program that will reduce the costs of the criminal justice and prison systems, reduce DUI recidivism and make our roads safer, and help members of our community recover from alcohol and drug abuse.”
Of the 1,078 people killed in fatal car crashes in Illinois in 2016, 272 or 25% of these fatalities were alcohol related.
Repeat DUI offenders pose a higher risk of causing death or injury on roadways.
The primary cause of DUI recidivism is alcohol dependency that if properly treated significantly reduces the risk that a defendant will reoffend.
Dan Wallis, Trial Court Administrator stated,
“This is a huge opportunity for the 22nd Judicial Circuit and McHenry County.
“Alcohol abuse has been linked to many unfortunate incidents which have resulted in injury or death.
“By applying scientifically proven practices, we can provide meaningfully interventions for these people and help them make the changes necessary to lead a sober and healthy life.
“Done correctly, we will be able to save lives.”
In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) endorsed DUI Courts as a proven strategy for rehabilitating repeat DUI offenders.
Research done by the National Center for DUI Courts found that DUI Courts reduce DUI recidivism and general criminal recidivism while returning substantial cost savings to taxpayers in the form of reduced incarceration costs.
Early evidence suggests DUI Courts can also reduce the incidence of car crashes on our nation’s highways.
Additionally, DUI Courts reduced both DUI recidivism and general criminal recidivism by an average of more than 12%.
The best DWI Courts reduced recidivism by as much as 50% to 60%.
Recidivism was 63% lower for DUI Court graduates than for DUI offenders who completed probation from adjacent counties, and 79% lower than for DUI offenders who completed probation in the same counties before the DUI Courts were founded.
The 22nd Judicial Circuit DWI Court is still in the planning stages and no official start date has been determined. However, it is anticipated that the new program will begin in early 2019.
Members of the court, State’s Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and area law enforcement will travel to Athens, Georgia, in December, to participate in a four day DUI Court Foundational Training, which will aid in developing the program.
Jason Sterwerf, Director of the Office of Special Projects for the 22nd Judicial Circuit summed up the project with the following,
“This program is an example of alternative solutions for the criminal justice and prison systems.
“This project aims to provide a balance of individualized treatment planning, accountability, individual goal development, all in conjunction with improving community safety through intensive judicial supervision.”