Monday 13 April 2015

Preventive detention or proactive monitoring?

Some folks, you just can't reach. David Farrar's pessimistic in this case:
Stuff reports:
A man believed to be New Zealand’s worst recidivist drink-driver will be released from prison next month, despite describing himself as a “danger to the community”.

Raymond Charles Laing was jailed for three years in 2012 after notching up his 26th conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was also convicted for the 31st time for driving while disqualified.
This would suggest he has driven drunk on several thousand occasions.
Drink Driving Interventions Trust co-director Roger Brooking said punishment for the offence in New Zealand was lenient compared to many other countries, and perhaps there was a need to keep certain people behind bars.

“In terms of dealing with the problem on a larger scale, I think there needs to be a law change so judges can impose preventive detention on them, so they can lock them up in prison for the rest of their lives.

“We do this to people who sexually offend, why can’t we do this to drunk drivers?”
That’s not a bad suggestion. Only use it for the worst of the worst, but if they fail to respond to anything else, that may be the only way to stop them killing someone while driving drunk.
Wouldn't it make more sense to have a prisoner reintegration regime, for those with very clear histories of offending while intoxicated, barring their consumption of alcohol or other drugs?

There are monitoring solutions that are seem much cheaper than keeping somebody in jail.

Turning the Tide of Drunk Driving Through 24/7 Accountability

In 2005, then-South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long launched a statewide program aimed at tackling the state’s epidemic DUI issue. At the time, South Dakota had one of the highest DUI rates in the nation, with 21.6% of adults admitting to having driven drunk. In addition, 75% of individual involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
In the 24/7 Program model, every single DUI offender is either tested twice daily (seven days a week) at a breath-testing center, or they wear SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring technology. The majority of the testing is offender funded, and a state indigent fund subsidizes costs for participants who qualify. The most important element of the program is simple, yet effective: If you fail or miss a test, or you have a confirmed drinking event on SCRAM CAM, you are swiftly, immediately escorted to the local jail.
Today, state level 24/7 Sobriety Programs are proliferating. North Dakota and Montana are already online, and a half-dozen programs are in the research and planning phases.
The device looks like one of the GPS-tracker ones worn by those on home detention: it can detect alcohol consumption transdermally.

It seems the kind of solution that addresses the problem while not imposing undue costs on others. Those who've demonstrated an inability to handle their alcohol get it taken away for a while; the rest of us get left alone.

Here's a PBS write-up of a similar program in Hawaii: HOPE.

Why does there seem little constituency here for this kind of solution?

Update: Here's RAND's page on 24/7 research.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, while preventative detention for drink-driving seems unwise, it doesn't infringe on others' liberties (except through possibly excessive public spending).