Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program
The Social Service Department is one of the designated agencies in the Circuit Court of Cook County to supervise and provide services to defendants who are placed on supervision or are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The department recognizes that driving under the influence is a serious offense and may be an indication of a significant alcohol or drug problem. The department's goal in providing services is to facilitate awareness on the part of the defendant so that he or she recognizes the consequences of drinking and driving and accordingly does not drink and drive. The department also recognizes research that suggests that court intervention with the DUI offender is essential for long term and effective containment of the problem of drinking and driving.
In the mid-1980s, the Social Service Department established a comprehensive program to provide intervention and services to offenders who are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI). Each DUI offender is evaluated to determine his or her level of risk to the community based on prior driving records, criminal histories and life situations. The department monitors DUI offenders through appropriate substance abuse treatment at agencies approved by the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Illinois Department of Human Services Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. The program provides correctional intervention for issues such as mental health and criminogenic needs (e.g. unemployment, housing, education). The department also addresses the behavior of individuals who have criminal records prior to their DUI charge. The offender's profile designates the frequency of contact.
The primary goals of the DUI Program are public safety; offender accountability to the court’s sentencing order; and mandating that offenders discontinue the use of intoxicating substances while driving. The completion of court-mandated conditions by the offender greatly increases the likelihood that the offender will not re-offend by committing subsequent DUI offenses. All DUI offenders sentenced in the Circuit Court of Cook County are mandated to report. An additional requirement includes that all offenders complete a pre-dispositional assessment that determines the offender’s risk level of minimal, moderate, significant, or high. All levels of risk require that the offender complete a specified amount of intervention and treatment hours as promulgated by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse.
The department’s casework staff intervenes with DUI offenders by monitoring all aspects of the sentencing order via in-person contact with the offender and frequent contacts with community agencies that provide DUI intervention programs. In-person reporting includes both individual and group interventions. Group interventions focus on the offenders’ thinking patterns, and by the use of cognitive restructuring, the group promotes the concept that driving while under the influence places the community, driver, and his/her family at grave risk. An intensive assessment process used by casework staff utilizes identifies the offender’s primary areas of need and assists offenders with prioritizing goals to reduce the offender’s likelihood of re-offending.