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Driving While Intoxicated

The consequences of driving while intoxicated can be profound and devastating, and yet the culpability of the driver is related to the decision to drive while impaired -- the harm caused was not the result of a deliberate attempt to cause harm. These stories and articles discuss issues related to driving while intoxicated.

How restorative justice changed a grieving family’s opinion of a hit-and-run driver
from the article by Douglas Quan in Postmedia news: There was no ambiguity in how Coral Forslund felt when the man responsible for her sister’s hit-and-run death was finally sentenced to prison. She “hated him.”.... But nagged by lingering questions — namely, was he remorseful for what he did? — Forslund, of Langley, B.C., reached out to a little-known federal program called Restorative Opportunities that arranges meetings between victims and offenders after sentencing. During their session in a B.C. prison, the offender broke down and Forslund heard him say for the first time that he was sorry.
Driver admits causing death: Case referred to restorative justice
from the article in Otago Daily Times: A man who yesterday admitted careless driving causing the death of another motorist will complete a restorative justice programme before being sentenced. Michael John Andrews (27), mine worker, of Queenstown, appeared before Judge Tom Broadmore in the Queenstown District Court and admitted causing the death of David Orchard on State Highway 1, Mangamaunu, Kaikoura, on March 6....
Alternative sentence praised
from the article on The hardline Sensible Sentencing Trust has come out in support of a judge's decision not to jail a drink-driver who killed a New Plymouth woman. Hogan Bolton, 31, of New Plymouth, was sentenced on July 4 to nine months' home detention following the death of artist and mother Carmen Rogers after she was hit in Brougham St on May 6. His breath alcohol was 1297mcg. The legal level is 400mcg. As well as making a $50,000 emotional harm reparation to the family he has agreed to appear in an anti-drink driving documentary.
Circle process helps hold youth accountable for drinking, driving, drug offenses
from the article by Joshua Wachtel: St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program (SCVRJP), based in River Falls, Wisconsin, USA, has developed a unique practice for working with young adults who have been arrested for crimes such as underage drinking, possession of drugs and paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and teen driving offenses. Using a restorative circle process, SCVRJP brings together offenders referred by the local courts, universities and high schools, who meet together with previous offenders and other community volunteers who have been impacted by these issues. A volunteer circle-keeper facilitates a focused discussion to present information to participants and to share a variety of perspectives.
Healing scars that can’t be seen
from Andrea J. Cook's article in the Rapid City Journal: Three years after their lives violently collided, Shaun Herrod, his fiancee Agnes Steele, and Maconnell Baker seem an unlikely trio to sit in the same room enthusiastically discussing Herrod’s upcoming college graduation. Life unexpectedly changed for all three of them on May 7, 2008, when Baker — who was high at the time — drove his car into Herrod’s on a north Rapid City street. As the third anniversary of the accident approaches, the three talk about switching the focus of May 7 from a horrible accident to a memorable graduation.
Restorative justice & restorative mediation
from Julie Speer's blog entry: This past year I’ve had the good fortune of telling several stories related to restorative justice and restorative mediation. Colorado is leading the way with RJ (Restorative Justice), and has gotten a large grant from the Department of Justice to look at how using RJ can decrease the costs to the system. When offenders go through an RJ process, their rate of recidivism is astonishingly low!
Who decides what is justice? I suspect that the Families affected by these crimes would be better placed to decide what sentences are meted out [...]
Parole denied for repeat drink-driver who killed woman
from Radio New Zealand News: The Parole Board is encouraging the family of a woman killed by a repeat drink-driver to consider a restorative justice meeting with him. Jonathan Barclay is serving a prison term of five years and six months for the manslaughter of 20-year-old Debbie Ashton, whom he killed in a head-on car crash near Nelson.
sentencing inconsistencies in the law
Hello, Linda. Thank you for your comment and question. Do you think it is a fair sentence? I know quite a few people in Colorado [...]
Life Without Parole-Drunk Driving-Loss of Life
Roger Walsch was driving drunk-AGAIN-with 19 impaired driving convictions, his Life sentence was just because he will be eligible for parole in seven years. I [...]
Offenders who take responsibility
This is a great article! This offender was pro-active. He took the first step towards taking responsibility for his actions. This is a key tenet [...]
Life Sentence for Drunk Driviing Death
I think the sentence was appropriate. I hope they will think carefully before giving this man parole. He has not been able to control himself [...]
Driver, after a terrible wrong, plans to work to make amends
from Aimee Green's article in the Oregonian: When it came down to it, even the defense attorney couldn't mince words. His client was guilty of a truly horrific drunken-driving crash: striking a blind man on the sidewalk, breaking his pelvis and legs in eight places, then driving away. But what made this case different from countless others, Jim O'Rourke said moments before a judge sentenced his client to prison Thursday, was that the Northeast Portland man did everything right after he did something that was so wrong. The judge and the prosecutor agreed.
Life sentence in fatal impaired accident 'small victory' for Quebec family
by Lisa Rea Canadian Roger Walsh was convicted and given a life sentence for the killing of Anee Khudaverian while driving drunk in October 2008 in Quebec. Walsh's sentence is noteworthy since this is the stiffest sentence ever handed down by the Crown in the case of a drunk driving death. Walsh had 18 additional convictions on his record for "impaired driving" before the death of this victim. In this news story, along with a television news clip interviewing the victim's mother and sister, we learn that Ms. Khudaverian was wheelchair bound and walking her down on a rural road when she was killed by Walsh.
Sawyer family moves forward after devastating loss
from (tip of the hat to Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice): When he left home the morning of July 16, 2008, Patrick was just weeks away from completing his degree. It was early, before sunrise, and he was riding his bicycle west on Cleveland Road, headed to the YMCA to swim laps before class at Indiana University South Bend. He was wearing a helmet and reflective vest and riding with traffic, and he had lights on the front and back of his bicycle.
Drunk driving and the purpose of punishment
From John G. Spragge's entry on Open Hand/Open Eye: ....But I know this too: that the justice system makes no sense at all when it makes distinctions not between harms but between instruments. The law ought to discriminate between harm done by negligence and harm done by malice. But the courts ought not to make a distinction between a child killed by negligence with a car bumper and negligence with a Glock....
Bohland, Charlyn. 2008. Restorative Justice: A New Approach to Battling Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Honors Senior Research Project. University of Akron.
The reality of driving under the influence (DUI) is sobering. Over 17,000 people die each year as a result of preventable alcohol-related crashes. While 1.4 million people are arrested for DUI, there are nearly 159 million others who self-confess to DUI each year. Within three years of being arrested, three-fourths of offenders will be rearrested for DUI. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the predictable failure of current criminal justice standards, and the hope and promise of a new wave of justice – restorative. Restorative justice focuses on healing the injustice of the crime through direct person-to-person interaction in several different ways –community reparative boards, family conferences, mediations, and victim impact panels. Research is based on a relatively current compilation of national and international studies regarding DUI cases, criminal justice standards, and restorative justice initiatives. Finally, and most importantly, this project presents an adaptable model for dealing with drunken driving offenders, both first-time and repeat offenders, using restorative measures as an effective means of curbing the number of deaths, decreasing recidivism rates, and drastically reducing the number of DUI cases, all while restoring the victim, offender, and community to its original state before DUI tragedies occur.
Coverdill, James E. and Rojek, Dean G and Fors, Stuart W. The Effect of Victim Impact Panels on DUI Rearrest Rates: A Five-Year Follow-up.
Victim Impact Panels (VIPs) were introduced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1982 and have since spread throughout the United States in an attempt to reduce drunk driving. The objective of 5 VIP is to expose DUI offenders to the pain and suffering caused by drunk driving without necessarily condemning the DUI offender. The few scientific evaluations of the effectiveness of VIPs have produced mixed results. The present investigation draws on evidence from a quasi-experimental design and a five-year follow-up to probe further the effects of VIPs on DUI recidivism. Results show that 33.5% of the comparison group, but only 15.8% of the VIP group, were rearrested over the five-year period. Discrete-time event history analyses suggest that VIPs are associated with a 55.7% overall decrease in the hazard of rearrest; the VIP effect is strong in the first two years but then wanes dramatically. Methodological threats stemming from the study’s design are considered. The implications of the differing styles of VIP and the resultant outcomes are also discussed. (authors' abstract)
Sprang, Ginny. Victim Impact Panels: An Examination of the Effectiveness of This Program on Lowering Recidivism and Changing Offenders' Attitudes About Drinking and Driving
This study examines 103 Victim Impact Panel attendees and 75 comparison group respondents who had been convicted of drunk driving offenses. A pre- and post-test measure developed by the author was administered to both groups to determine offender attitudes about drinking and driving. Results indicate a lower recidivism rate in VIP participants as opposed to comparison group subjects and those receiving other sanctions as cited in the literature. 2-Way ANOVA and paired T-test analysis revealed significant changes in attitudes regarding the VIP attendees intention to continue drinking and driving, the consideration of consequences and whether or not DUI/DWI should be considered a crime and recidivism. These results did not hold true for the comparison group. There were no demonstrated significant differences in attitudes toward the fairness of DUI/DWI laws, the accidental nature of drunk driving offenses or the advisability of DWI education as an alternative sanction in either group.
Rojek, Dean G and Fors, Stuart W. The Effect of Victim Impact Panels on DUI/DWI Rearrest Rates: A Twelve-Month Follow-Up
Objective: Various interventions have been implemented as components of sentencing for driving under the influence of alcohol. This study assessed the effectiveness of the Victim Impact Panel (VIP) in reducing the probability of an offender being rearrested for drinking and driving. Method: The study was conducted in an urban/suburban county in the Southeastern United States. Rearrest rates of DUI offenders who attended a VIP presentation as part of their sentencing (n = 404) were compared with an equivalent comparison group (n = 431) who did not have the VIP presentation. Arrest records of offenders were searched and rearrest rates (%) were calculated for the periods 0-6 months, 7-12 months, and 0-12 months after the arrest. Results: Chi-square cross-tabulations indicate that rearrest rates were lower for the VIP group than the comparison group in all categories. Three categories where the differences were significant and of the greatest magnitude were white men, ages 26-35 years, and one prior DUI arrest. Additionally, logistic regression was used to compare the importance of specific independent variables on rearrest. Whether or not a subject was in the VIP group was the most powerful contributor to the results. Conclusions: After considering alternative explanations for the results, we conclude that the VIPs can be a cost-effective way of reducing the probability of rearrest in DUI offenders. When costs of DUI in human misery and dollars are considered, the potential benefits of large-scale implementation of VIP programs appear to be well worth the effort.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

A long-time repeat offender describes the impact of meeting with his victims.