Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strong probation for felony DWI in Tarrant County

DWI becomes a felony and thus prison-eligible (third degree felony, 2-10 years) in Texas upon the third conviction. But a specialty court in Tarrant County called the Felony Alcohol Intervention Program has avoided sending hundreds of 3-time DWI defendants to prison through a strict strong probation regimen. Reported WFAA-TV on Monday:
The four-year program isn't easy. Program participants are required to spend 10 days in jail, take random urine and breath tests, intensive counseling and alcohol treatment, weekly court appearances and meetings with probation officers. They must also maintain full-time employment.

"A lot of people don't understand that when you're incarcerated and directly taken out of society, you don't get an opportunity to change your life, because you're just sitting in a cell," Knapp said. "There's no support. There's nobody there to help you."

The FAIP program is saving taxpayers millions of dollars. It costs $50 a day to house inmates in Texas prisons. Tarrant County's program costs $3 a day.

"It's not that people drink and drive," said Judge Sharen Wilson, one of the founders of the DWI program. "It's that they drink and drive and hurt somebody. So until we break that cycle, then I think the cost is incalculable."

Judge Wilson said if the offenders violate any of the program's requirements, she has no problem sending them to prison. But this DWI program is the most successful probation program in Tarrant County.

Of the 261 offenders admitted into the program since 2006, only two percent of them have returned to prison.


Texas Maverick said...

this is so common sense why do other counties not invest in this type of program? If you can figure out a grant for swat teams, surely you can figure out one that actually does some good. Kudos for Tarrant County

Anonymous said...

Reply to Texas Maverick

In order to work it has to be supported by all entities in the system. You have to keep in mind that prosecutors tend to view this as "soft on crime" or "coddling offenders." AND that is the way many prosecutors offices will portray such programs to the public.
It is good to see that there is a system in Texas where all players agree and support such common sense approach. The results are proof that this is a great way to reduce crime and protect the public.

Anonymous said...

This is just another court so that tarrant county can employ another worthless soft ass judge. Bottom line is, this only works when someone actually gets caught. If Ft.Worth PD stopped half the people leaving the stockyards alone on a friday or saturday night, they would have stop an outrageous amount of intoxicated drivers. Stockyards are just an example, there are plenty of folks driving drunk on 20, 30, 35 and many other streets. Until the police presence is much more than it is now, then you cannot be serious about actually stopping people from driving drunk. Put in a scram monitor, those don't work because the loser criminal just drives a different car. Criminals are always one step ahead because they have nothing but time to spend on ways to make their shit life an even more drain on people who actually work for a living. Fuck all the stupid ass criminals in this world. Stop coddling them and make them accountable for their actions. 10 days in jail? That's just a 10 day vaction from reality.

Anonymous said...

Reply to anonymous 10:02 am: Go sit in Judge Wilson's court any given day. Watch and learn. She is the TOUGHEST judge in Tarrant County. This program is taxpayer money well spent vs. throwing a person with an alcohol problem into prison for years, hoping he "learns his lesson" while being locked up in an environment that generates more problems than rehabilitates. Get a clue. Yes, stopping folks leaving a bar would be a step in the right direction. Actually requiring everyone to pass a breathalzer test on the way out the door would be better. If they don't pass, they are required to call a cab. Period, or the bar calls the cops. But the restaurant lobbyists and bars would fight that one all the way. Why, because money is to be made off the sale of alcohol. Bars and restaurants would go out of business if we really wanted to solve this problem.

Anonymous said...

1152, i've got more than a clue. Here is a myth you've been conned into believing, Rehabilitation doesn't work, that's why the state of Texas has the most people incarcerated in this country. Money talks and bullshit walks..There is a lot of "talking" so to speak towards the pockets of the elected in Austin. There's your reality.

Anonymous said...

It costs $50 a day to house inmates in Texas prisons. Tarrant County's program costs $3 a day.

I don't believe these figures.

Unknown said...

Is there away to request This program? How are people selected? A friend was arrested last night for her 3rd DWI. She needs help learning how to deal with this and the punishment. I would like to learn as much as i can about this