County program aims to keep repeat DWI offenders off the streets

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Holiday parties and celebrations are just days away and officials say with that usually comes an increase of people drinking and driving.

One local program is looking to keep you safer on the road by helping repeat offenders recover.

It’s no secret, New Mexico has been trying to combat a problem with DWIs for a long time.

The DWI Recovery Court Program in Bernalillo County is looking to stop repeat offenders from getting back on the road by rehabilitating them through a year of intense supervision, counseling and classes.

The Recovery Court Program only deals with repeat offenders, those with a second or third DWI offense. People who receive their first DWI must go through the first offenders program.

Court officials say that not only is this keeping the streets safe all year round, it’s saving the county and the state a lot of money.

“It costs $21 a day to have somebody in the Recovery Court Program. If you were to put somebody in jail, it costs $121 a day. The costs savings are enormous. Not to mention the lives that are saved,” said Judge Edward Benavidez, Bernalillo County Metro Court.

Judge Benavidez says just last year, 150 people completed the Recovery Court Program. According to Benavidez, the savings over that one year period was nearly $3 million in Bernalillo County.

Officials measure the success of the program by recidivism rates. Since the beginning, the recidivism rates for the graduates is only 6 percent. The program began in 1997 as the DWI/Drug Court.For more information on the DWI Recovery Court, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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