Hennepin County's DWI Court, which boasts a repeat offender rate far below the state average, is winning praise from a leading force against drunken driving.
MADD will honor the DWI Court at an awards ceremony today at the Clarence Wigington Pavilion on Harriet Island in St. Paul.
"Since opening our doors two years ago, we have had about 150 of the worst DWI offenders enter our program," Judge John Holahan said in a news release announcing the award.
Of the DWI Court participants, only two have reoffended, he said. Holahan said the statewide recidivism rate is 13 percent.
DWI Court is designed for repeat offenders who are good candidates to stay sober and law-abiding. The program requires, among other things, at least 120 continuous days of sobriety, completion of treatment and after-care, and attendance at 50 12-step meetings. Also, participants must have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicles for at least one year.
A similar court was begun in neighboring Ramsey County in 2005.