Vermont plans DUI courtsJanuary 07,2013By LISA RATHKE
The Associated Press
MONTPELIER — Vermont plans to set up DUI courts to reduce the number of repeat drunken drivers by treating their addictions to alcohol, a move that is expected to save lives and money, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday.
Similar to the three drug courts already operating in the state, judges would monitor the treatment of people with a second or third DUI offense and could impose sanctions and rewards. The offenders would be convicted and sentenced. After they’ve served a mandatory sentence they could work out a deal with the judge to return to court on a regular basis to account for their progress and treatment as a condition of their probation. If they violate those terms, they lose that benefit and are incarcerated.
“There is something about returning on a regular basis to court to speak to the judge that nationally we have learned makes a significant difference in helping people recover from addiction,” said Robert Sand, the Windsor County state’s attorney will be leaving that position to set up the courts.
Sand has been working with criminal justice professionals in Windsor County on such a court — called a DUI treatment docket. The system is expected to take its first cases in 30 to 60 days, Sand said. He hopes to see a statewide DUI treatment dockets in three years.
Of the 77 fatal crashes in Vermont last year, 23 were alcohol related.
“I think it’s important to emphasize that repeat DUI offenders have maimed and killed innocent Vermonters for a long time,” said Shumlin.
“Anything that I can do as governor and that we can do as an administration to make Vermont roads safer while we deal with addiction in a smarter and more effective way is good news for Vermonters and good news for Vermont taxpayers,” he said.
Vermont already is reducing its rate of young inmates. The number has dropped from 2,074 in 2003 to 938 in June of 2012.
The DUI courts will help to reduce those numbers even more, as well as a plan to merge the Community High School of Vermont and the Vermont Correctional Industries programs to offer inmates better training to succeed when they’re released, Shumlin said.
The proposal — which is expected to save about $600,000 a year — will offer training in independent living, post-secondary planning and workforce development.
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor, Venus Genetrix; on this day in 1933, FBI agents in Memphis, Tennessee, arrest Machine Gun Kelly; Yves Rossi flies the English Channel with home-made jet-pack.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1852, Henri Giffard demonstrates the first steam-powered airship, sailing 17 miles from Paris to Trappes; on this day in 1877, Japanese imperial troops crush the Satsuma Rebellion, Saigo Takamori dies in Kagoshima.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch meets with Killington business owners, governor candidates debate, Gov. Shumlin discusses progress in anti-opiate campaign, Spanos trial venue moves to White River Junction.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1776, as Nathan Hale is hanged by British military authorities for spying, he utters his famous last words — or does he? In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempts to kill President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Patrick McArdle reports and the theft of an $89,000 shotgun, police release a video of the Monday Castleton robbery, O'Gorman reports a lawsuit by a local man claiming his vehicle unlawfully seized, police leave him in cold.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Giles Corey of Salem, Mass., is pressed to death during the Salem witch trials; on this day in 1952, film comedian Charlie Chaplin, while traveling to England, is denied re-entry into the United States by U.S. attorney general.