appendix six

those most likely to benefit from panel attendance

MADD would not expect recidivism studies of multiple offenders who attend panels to find significant attitudinal or behavioral change. Also, MADD discourages researchers from concluding that panels are not effective for first-time offenders if the research design did not separate out first-time offenders from repeat offenders.

Research conducted over the past few years is beginning to identify the individuals most likely to be helped by hearing a panel. Two studies found males 35 or older to be most significantly impacted.

It is difficult to determine if these findings are strictly a factor of age and gender, or if the profile of the average MADD panel speaker -- age 46 with a child who was killed -- contributed to the findings. While more mothers than fathers speak on MADD panels, offenders may identify more closely with those in their own gender and age group. If this is true, judges might order panels for offenders near the age of panel speakers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that females caused 33% of all traffic crashes in 1999.

However, a random study of New York drivers in the early 1990s revealed that while more males than females were arrested for impaired driving, the rate for females was rapidly escalating (Yu 1993). By self-report, as many females drove while intoxicated as males.

Many intoxicated females may still be avoiding arrest (Ibid). Since most panel speakers are female, it seems reasonable for courts to make certain that females who do enter the criminal justice system attend panel presentations.

As the popularity of panels increases, they have been introduced in other venues.

Panels are now popular at high schools during prom and graduation seasons, and at traffic or driving schools. Combinations of professionals have joined to incorporate panels in innovative programs such as the Bury the Bottle Program in Indiana. An expansion of the victim impact panel concept lead to the development of "Bury the Bottle," a seven-scene play produced jointly by the Koala Hospital of Columbus, Indiana, the Seymour Police Department, and MADD, Indiana. In the play, alcohol and other drug-related partying leads to impaired driving, jail, and court. The son of an alcoholic father in the play is killed in a car crash. A realistic visitation scene follows the crash. The play also includes encouraging roles with people in recovery who make it back home where "the bottle" is buried.

MADD, Hawaii also uses an adapted version of Victim Impact Panels in local high schools. According to MADD, Hawaii's materials, the program targets youth aged 15 to 18 years with a prevention and education approach to underage drinking and impaired driving, focusing on personal responsibility and choices.


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