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The Effect of Victim Impact Panels on DUI/DWI Rearrest Rates: A Twelve-Month Follow-Up

Fors, Stuart W
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60(4).

Objective: Various interventions have been implemented as components of sentencing for driving under the influence of alcohol. This study assessed the effectiveness of the Victim Impact Panel (VIP) in reducing the probability of an offender being rearrested for drinking and driving. Method: The study was conducted in an urban/suburban county in the Southeastern United States. Rearrest rates of DUI offenders who attended a VIP presentation as part of their sentencing (n = 404) were compared with an equivalent comparison group (n = 431) who did not have the VIP presentation. Arrest records of offenders were searched and rearrest rates (%) were calculated for the periods 0-6 months, 7-12 months, and 0-12 months after the arrest. Results: Chi-square cross-tabulations indicate that rearrest rates were lower for the VIP group than the comparison group in all categories. Three categories where the differences were significant and of the greatest magnitude were white men, ages 26-35 years, and one prior DUI arrest. Additionally, logistic regression was used to compare the importance of specific independent variables on rearrest. Whether or not a subject was in the VIP group was the most powerful contributor to the results. Conclusions: After considering alternative explanations for the results, we conclude that the VIPs can be a cost-effective way of reducing the probability of rearrest in DUI offenders. When costs of DUI in human misery and dollars are considered, the potential benefits of large-scale implementation of VIP programs appear to be well worth the effort.


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