Since 2011, Jefferson County—home of Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city—has averaged 4,260 DUI charges annually. In 2016 alone, Jefferson District Court saw a total of 2,383 DUIs, of which, 22% were repeat offenses.
This summer, the county implemented its Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Program (CAMP), which seeks to save lives and reduce recidivism among high-risk DUI offenders through 24-hour alcohol monitoring.
Under CAMP, courts can require repeat DUI offenders to wear an ankle monitor that uses transdermal technology to automatically test the wearer’s sweat to ensure they aren’t drinking. Offenders can be required to wear the bracelets before trial to prove that they aren’t committing new offenses, or as a condition of their sentence.
The Jefferson County Attorney’s office emphasized that CAMP is “designed to help individuals address their alcohol issues and reduce the chances that they will reoffend.”
“The use of this alcohol-sensing technology can absolutely save lives,” County Attorney Mike O’Connell said.
Jefferson County’s efforts aim not only to curb injury and loss of life, but also to minimize the economic impact of DUI offenses by reducing the costs associated with jail overcrowding. By agreeing to participate in CAMP, some offenders could potentially avoid jail altogether, saving taxpayer money.
Program aids rehabilitation
O’Connell also acknowledged that it’s not just about catching those who violate court orders—CAMP is an opportunity to focus on the individual offender’s rehabilitation.
The benefit for the defendants is twofold: the program allows them to remain employed and involved with their families, while also providing clear evidence for attorneys and judges that they are taking their sobriety seriously.
“Defense lawyers say their client hasn’t been drinking, but judges never know,” District Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke said. “And we don’t really want to be wrong.”
“This is an effort to use the accountability of the courts as a path toward sobriety,” O’Connell added. “The longer a person is able to stay sober, the greater the chance that they will not commit a DUI or other alcohol-involved crime.”
A Proven Solution to Repeat Drunk Driving
The origins of CAMP can be traced to a York County, Pennsylvania program called Target 25, a supervised bail program for repeat DUI offenders, in which, defendants are monitored continuously for alcohol consumption. Since its adoption in 2012, the outcomes have been positive—96% of Target 25 offenders were not rearrested while participating in the program.