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Promising Criminal Justice Programs for DWI Offenders: Rensselaer County, New York Probation Alcohol Treatment (PAT) Program

The Probation Alcohol Treatment (PAT) program in Rensselaer County was formed in 1983 and aims to increase treatment attendance and effectiveness by combining the alcoholism treatment delivered by the Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center to repeat, high risk DWI offenders with close supervision by probation officers.

The PAT program targets repeat offenders at their third offense. These offenders are first screened for alcohol abuse/addiction issues as well as recidivism risk.  Once assessed, they are sent to the mandatory program at the outpatient clinic to address their addiction/abuse problems. Offenders must maintain sobriety during the PAT program, usually lasting 52 weeks. They attend weekly group meetings and monthly individual meetings co-facilitated by the probation officer and an alcohol counselor, as well as submit to random home visits and frequent drug screening by their probation officer. Offenders are also encouraged to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or join a church community for support.

The PAT Program has been proven to reduce DWI arrests by more than a third and other criminal arrests by 60 percent. In the ten years of participating in the program, program participants averaged 1.24 DWI arrests per person whereas DWI offenders who underwent probation-only averaged 2.75 arrests per person.

For more details on this program, please visit Promising Programs section.

With our Judicial Education Advisory Committee, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has developed a compilation of promising programs across the nation for dealing with DWI offenders in the criminal justice community. It is our hope that by sharing these programs with stakeholders in the criminal justice field that new, innovative programs can be developed in every state to deal more comprehensively with DWI offenders.

Please contact Jaime Alvis Lotter, Director of Government Relations & Traffic Safety at The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, if you know of any other promising programs that should be included in this compilation.

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