Worth Knowing: Successful Windsor Adult DUI Treatment Court Docket to be expanded with $1.9M federal grant

Submitted a month ago

The Windsor Adult DUI Treatment Court Docket aims to reduce driving under the influence, make our roads safer, and help people recover from dependence on alcohol and other drugs. The Vermont Judiciary recently announced that it has secured a $1.9 million, five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These funds will support the Southeastern Regional DUI Court Docket – Treatment Expansion Project, which will increase access to and capacity in the existing Windsor Adult DUI Treatment Docket.

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Until now, only offenders in Windsor County could participate in the DUI Treatment program. The grant will now allow offenders in Orange and Windham Counties to travel to Windsor County for the program. In addition, prior to the receipt of the grant, the Adult DUI Treatment Court was accessible only to offenders who committed serious alcohol-related driving offenses. Now offenders who commit drugged-driving offenses will also be eligible for the program.

What is the Windsor Adult Treatment Docket? The Windsor Adult DUI Treatment Court Docket is a voluntary, post-conviction program for repeat offenders who are over 18 years old, have moderate to severe alcohol dependence, and want to recover from dependence on alcohol. It offers participants who complete the program the chance to have criminal charges dismissed or reduced. The docket's team helps defendants receive treatment for alcohol dependence with the goals of keeping communities safe, helping defendants end their criminal behavior, and saving taxpayers the cost of extended incarceration.

How are cases referred to the DUI Treatment Court?  Referrals to the program come from defense attorneys, the state’s attorney, the Department of Corrections, and law enforcement. Those who are referred to the program as soon as possible after their arrest have the best chance of successfully completing the program.

Who is eligible?  Individuals who are convicted of at least one of the following offenses are eligible to participate:

  • A second DUI offense where the defendant's blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest was at least 0.15 percent
  • A third or greater DUI offense
  • A third or greater alcohol-related offense

In addition, the suspended portion of the sentence should last at least 15 months and at most 24 months.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities, and in 2018 it issued a solicitation titled “Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Adult Treatment Drug Courts and Adult Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts.” The Vermont Judiciary’s application for grant funding was one of eight that SAMHSA selected for multi-year funding, and it received a score of 90 (the top score out of 73 submitted applications was 92).

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