County program proven to curb DWIs
Twelve hard-core DWI offenders who have already “failed sobriety and failed jail” have been sentenced to an intensive, eighteen-week program that is proven to stop repetitive drunken-driving offenses.
Following sentencing by Magistrate Judge Kenneth Eichwald on September 6, the dozen offenders will undergo six weeks of treatment and therapy through Sandoval County’s Treatment Adjunct Rehabilitative Services, or STARS. The program combines group and individual therapy, family and individual intervention, experiential therapy, nutrition, and wilderness exercises into a separate sentence that Sandoval County courts impose on repeat DWI offenders.
After completing the initial six-week STARS program, participants then must undergo twelve weeks of additional group and individual therapy.
“STARS is not treatment or lockup as usual. It’s not for all offenders,” said James Gilson, Sandoval County’s DWI program administrator. “It’s a last-ditch effort to stop even more DWIs by the same offenders who keep repeating the cycle of DWI-jail-release-DWI. These are people who have failed sobriety and failed jail, and maybe even failed conventional therapy.”
Gilson said that 80 percent of the ninety-four offenders who have been sentenced to STARS since Sandoval County began the program in 1995 have successfully completed the program. Of those who graduated, 3 percent were again arrested for a subsequent DWI. Participants who fail in the STARS program are returned to jail to serve out maximum court-ordered terms.
“By contrast, New Mexico statistics show that more than 30 percent of all DWI offenders statewide will be arrested again for drinking and driving once they get out of jail,” he said. “The program is proven to be highly effective at curbing multiple-DWI offenders and at closing down that revolving door.”
During the final twelve weeks, participants and family members are involved in group and individual therapy. Sandoval County recently added acupuncture and Chinese remedies to the program’s list of possible components. Traditional Native American healing already is used as an optional component of Sandoval County’s comprehensive DWI prevention programs.
STARS is funded by the state liquor excise fees paid by purchasers of alcoholic beverages in New Mexico. The Sandoval County Commission allocated $96,000 from the county’s portion of state liquor excise money for the STARS program this year, or about $4,000 for each offender who will be sentenced to complete the program.
View mosaics dedicated to 9/11
Mosaic artist Mark Anthony, his wife, Delilah, and their children, Krishelle and Donovan, are opening their home gallery in the Overlook subdivision in Placitas for a viewing of the nine mosaics they created as a remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy and the nation’s community spirit. In December, 2002, these works of art will be donated to President Bush and the First Lady, the White House, the Pentagon, the New York City fire and police departments, the Twin Tower/Port Authority, the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, former Mayor Giuliani, and the Trinity Church in New York City. The Anthony family will stop at fire stations and other community buildings in Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Nashville, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Shanksville, and New York City to offer viewings and dedications. Accompanying the mosaics is a scroll for signatures, prayers, poems, and the like. The Anthonys invite the community on Saturday, November 23, or Sunday, November 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a Day of Remembrance. For more information, please contact Mark Anthony at 930-9000 or MarkAnthony56@aol.com.