Preface and Acknowledgment

The preface profiles how the Sentencing Summit was designed. It also identifies how this compendium was designed and explains why the 10 sentencing innovations profiled were selected. Finally, it acknowledges the contributions of the summit participants and the authors.

Design of NHTSA’s National Sentencing Summit on Repeat DWI Offenders

Through funding from NHTSA, The National Judicial College invited 21 participants to a summit to identify promising sentencing practices in combating DWIs. The National Judicial College designed the summit with the following substantive components: (1) summit overview; (2) introductions and problem solving exercise; (3) problem identification; (4) breakout session: finding solutions to identified problems; (5) plenary session: sharing solutions; (6) review of shared solutions and proposed ideas; (7) breakout session; finding solutions to identified problems; (8) plenary session: sharing solutions; and (9) closing: best practices summary and next steps. During the first day, participants identified the common obstacles that judges confront in adjudicating DWI cases. Next, small groups began to identify solutions to the identified problems , which continued on the second day. Finally, the participants endeavored to identify those practices that appeared to be the most promising in reducing the recidivism rates of DWI offenders.

Summit attendees included officials from NHTSA headquarters, NHTSA’s Western Regional administrator, judges, researchers from the United States and Canada, as well as treatment professionals, probation and parole experts and judges from throughout the United States.1 They were selected based upon their expertise in dealing with DWI offenders. Their work, coupled with the expertise of the researchers and those working directly in the civil and criminal justice system, provided for a dynamic exchange of ideas.

Design of This Compendium
After the summit, The National Judicial College invited summit participants to draft chapters that addressed those sentencing practices that appeared to be the most promising from the summit. Not all of the promising sentencing practices identified in this compendium have been empirically studied, and it is recommended that those studies be conducted. This compendium is designed to give judges ideas they can implement in their communities. It is also designed to inspire them to analyze critically whether their current modes of operation are effective.

The National Judicial College and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, thank the many judges and other highway safety professionals who participated in the NHTSA National DWI Sentencing Summit. The attendee’s material, brainstorming, commitment, and leadership in the field of highway safety are greatly appreciated and have served as a foundation for this Compendium.

The National Judicial College thanks the many individuals who were contributing authors to this compendium. The NJC also appreciates those who offered comments and suggestions during the review of this document. The compendium is better because of those suggestions. NJC commends all the judges and other non-NJC staff who did this work without compensation and deeply appreciates their leadership, commitment, and talents.

The summit and this publication would not have been possible without funding from NHTSA. NJC appreciates and enjoys working with the committed individuals in NHTSA, who are devoted to advancing justice in highway safety cases. This compendium represents a joint effort by NHTSA, NJC, judges, researchers, probation and parole officials, treatment providers, medical professionals, and others in the field of highway safety.

In sum, NJC hopes this compendium will serve as further inspiration to judges, hearing officers, magistrates and administrative law judges to continue implementing innovative practices to tackle one of our nation’s most significant problems--the DWI offender.

1A roster of the participants and contributing authors can be viewed by clicking here.