County program targeting repeat DUI offenders nets $300K grant

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A 1-year-old San Mateo Superior Court program aiming to prevent repeat DUI offenders received a $300,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the county announced Thursday.

The Multiple Driving Under the Influence (MDUI) Court uses “a multidisciplinary team approach combined with intensive correctional supervision to identify and treat the root causes of criminal behavior,” according to the county.

The idea is to prevent second and third time DUI offenders from committing the crime again through intensive supervision and connections to alcohol recovery resources.

According to the county: “In addition to requiring participants to serve a jail sentence, the MDUI program includes: Dedicated probation officers to supervise repeat offenders; ignition interlock device installed in vehicle, which prevents an intoxicated individual from starting the car; periodic alcohol testing or continuous alcohol monitoring; referrals to community-based organizations for alcohol treatment;  and frequent hearings before a judge who reviews a participant’s progress or lack thereof and adjusts the program elements to ensure a successful outcome.” 

Over 225 offenders have taken part in the program, which thus far has a graduation rate of 82-percent, the county said.

While officials say it’s too soon to tell if the program is working, they said “early results look promising.” This is the second year in a row that the MDUI Court has received the grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. It is one of three courts in the state to receive the one-year grant this year.

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