Court celebrates graduation ceremony

The 55th District Court held its 33rd graduation ceremony on Jan. 27 at Mason City Hall.

Judge Donald L. Allen, Jr. presides over the 55th District Court's Sobriety Court.

"Our Sobriety Court continues to be a win-win situation, proving rehabilitation effectively protects the community, saves significant taxpayer money, and returns citizens to productive lives," Allen stated. "We are very proud of our program, our participants, and of the community support we consistently receive. The long term success of Sobriety Court is based upon close supervision of probationers by an interdisciplinary team dedicated to the safety of our community."

With this ceremony, there is now a total of 395 successful graduates of the 55th District Court Sobriety Court.

According to research conducted in April 2011, recidivism rates for its graduates are significantly better than the national average for similar programs.

- 81 percent of the Sobriety Court graduates had not been re-arrested, compared to the national average of 75 percent (source: National Drug Court Institute, 2010)

- 93 percent of 55th District Court Sobriety Court graduates had not been convicted of new alcohol or drug related offenses (source: 55th District Court Recidivism Study, 2011)

In addition to reducing crime and protecting the public, the 55th District Court Sobriety Court is saving Ingham County taxpayers by reducing the time offenders are spending in jail. Local records indicate OWI 3rd offenders were previously sentenced to an average of 30 days in jail and OWI 2nd offenders were sentenced to an average of 14 days.

Because participants avoid "up front" jail terms by entering the program, jail utilization has significantly decreased. In 2013, incarceration for OWI 3rd offenders was reduced by 630 days and for OWI 2nd offenders by 462 days. At $54 per day, this represents a savings of $58,968 (source: Ingham County Sheriff's Office).

Published: Mon, Feb 09, 2015

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