Conclusion

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This Promising Sentencing Practices Compendium describes sentencing practices identified by judges and other professionals to reduce DWI offenses. This publication is one example of how judges have led efforts in creating new solutions to an ongoing societal and justice system problem. Today, nearly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of DWI have previous DWI convictions. Vigilant judges have demonstrated their commitment, courage, and foresight in experimenting with these new approaches to sentencing in an effort to stop the “revolving door.”

The sentencing practices discussed in this compendium are examples of using creativity in seeking better justice. Various forms of these practices and other sentencing options are being used by judges throughout the country to address the individual offender as well as to promote safer communities. In choosing which practices are appropriate, judges need to ensure that an adequate assessment of the offender is conducted. Once that is accomplished, the judge can choose from among the various sentencing practices to combine those strategies that will assist the individual offender with specific issues.

It is understood that some judges encounter challenges or limitations on their abilities to seek new solutions. These real-life sentencing practices can be catalysts for implementing new practices to reduce recidivism. There is an often-used quote which succinctly describes why we need to be creative with sentencing practices:


“If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

– Author unknown


This compendium challenges every judge to be a catalyst for introspection and change by taking such measures as adjusting sentencing philosophies, identifying additional resources and adopting new sentencing practices. By addressing the problem of repeat DWI and other serious offenders head-on, and utilizing unique remedies to decrease revolving door cases, judges today are creating a better system for tomorrow.