waukesha county's alcohol treatment court
         
 
 

facing the judge

Todd shuffles into the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands cuffed behind him. 

He fell off the wagon and is serving a sanction.  Seven days in jail.

In the courtroom gallery are other participants in Waukesha County's Alcohol Treatment Program, wide-eyed, watching.

"He's lost," whispers Bridget to Vicky.

Todd serves as a reminder to Bridget, Vicky and the others that they'd better take sobriety seriously.

Each has been convicted of a third drunk-driving offense and sentenced to jail. 

But, third-time convicted drunk drivers have a choice in Waukesha County.

They can complete a mandatory jail sentence or apply to participate in the county's Alcohol Treatment Program.

Once in the program, convicted drunk drivers are released into the community under strict court supervision.

Program requirements include, among others, drug and alcohol testing, counseling sessions and reporting regularly to the judge.

The participants have to stay clean and sober in order to move through the program's phases.

The presiding judge oversees the weekly treatment court sessions and dispenses:

  • praise when it is appropriate,

    video Joe

  • caution when it is necessary,

    video Bruno

  • and punishment when a participant, like Todd, falls back into old habits. 

Successful program completion can take anywhere between a year and 18 months.

That is two to three times longer than the six-month jail sentences usually handed down to third-time convicted drunk drivers.


 
     
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