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BEAM Inc : Beam and National Center for DWI Courts Recognize April as National Alcohol Awareness Month

04/27/2012 | 11:50am US/Eastern

Call for DWI Court Expansion to Combat Hard-Core Drunk Driving

For 26 years, April has been designated Alcohol Awareness Month, bringing national attention to the consequences of alcohol misuse. While fatalities due to drunk driving have steadily declined over the past 20 years, Beam, the largest U.S.-based spirits company, and the National Center for DWI Courts are committed to making further progress and making roads even safer by expanding solutions proven to work. Beam has helped champion this cause since 2007 when it helped found the National Center for DWI Courts.

The National Center for DWI Courts is the only organization committed to the implementation and support of DWI Courts, the most successful criminal justice response to hardcore drunk driving. Government statistics show that 70 percent of fatal crashes due to drunk driving involve hardcore offenders, defined as those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .15 or a previous DWI conviction. This month alone, more than 550 DWI Courts will hold hardcore DWI offenders accountable for their behavior through a combination of intense supervision and treatment for alcohol addiction. As a result, hardcore offenders in DWI Courts leave the criminal justice system as responsible, productive and law-abiding citizens.

Across the nation there are more than two million drunk drivers with three or more DWI convictions and a staggering 400,000 with five or more. Over the last two decades, strides have been made in reducing drunk driving fatalities, however research has shown that these hardcore drunk drivers still pose the greatest risk of death on our roads. Unfortunately, traditional sentencing has had little effect on their behavior.

"DWI Courts demonstrate that we can hold offenders accountable while addressing the misuse of alcohol that drives their destructive behavior," said NDCI Director David Wallace. "We see lives transformed every day in DWI Court. People who posed a risk to themselves and their community emerge committed to recovery, their families and their community. There is no longer any doubt that DWI Courts must be expanded. Alcohol Awareness Month is an important time to focus on proven solutions such as DWI Courts."

DWI Courts Proven Effective

DWI Courts have emerged as a critical solution to hardcore drunk driving due to their success at reducing recidivism and saving valuable criminal justice resources. A recent evaluation completed in Georgia found that repeat DWI offenders participating in three DWI Courts were up to 65 percent less likely to be re-arrested for a new DWI offense than DWI offenders sentenced in a traditional format. A similar study in Michigan found that DWI Courts had better outcomes in nearly all comparisons with traditional sentencing. In one county, the participants were up to 19 times less likely to reoffend. The finding also noted that DWI Courts saved the criminal justice system time and money when compared to a traditional court. Orange County, Calif., has four DWI Courts in operation, saving over 109,000 jail bed nights and over $11 million in savings to taxpayers, since 2004.

"Alcohol Awareness Month is an important time for us to assess the progress we have made and determine the road ahead," said Matt Stanton, Vice President of Public Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility. "As we continue the fight to eliminate drunk driving, we must remain focused on the population of drivers who do the most harm. There is no doubt that the most effective way to handle hardcore drunk drivers is through DWI Courts. We call for and support this program to be expanded throughout the nation."

About NCDC

The National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) is a professional services division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), established in 2007 and founded through a partnership with Beam Global Spirits & Wine. The NCDC is the only dedicated advocacy, policy, training and technical support organization for DWI Courts in the nation. Dedicated to delivering research-driven practices to reduce impaired driving recidivism nationwide, the NCDC is designed to:

  • Expand DWI Courts nationwide.
  • Improve DWI Court operations through training and technical assistance.
  • Maintain operational standards for DWI Courts.

NCDC is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation and Beam Inc., and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc.

About Beam Inc.

As one of the world's leading premium spirits companies, Beam is Crafting the Spirits that Stir the World. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company's brands, including Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker's Mark Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Canadian Club Whisky, Courvoisier Cognac, Teacher's Scotch Whisky, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Laphroaig Scotch Whisky, Cruzan Rum, Hornitos Tequila, Knob Creek Bourbon, EFFEN Vodka, Pucker Flavored Vodka, Larios Gin, Whisky DYC, DeKuyper Cordials, and Skinnygirl Cocktails. Beam is focused on delivering superior performance with its unique combination of scale with agility and a strategy of Creating Famous Brands, Building Winning Markets and Fueling Our Growth. Beam and its 3,200 passionate associates worldwide generated 2011 sales of $2.8 billion, volume of 34 million 9-liter cases and some of the industry's fastest growing innovations. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Beam is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BEAM and is included in the S&P 500 Index and the MSCI World Index. For more information on Beam, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamglobal.com and www.drinksmart.com.

© 2012 Beam Inc., Deerfield, IL

Beam Inc.
Paula Erickson, (847) 444-7590
Paula.Erickson@BeamGlobal.com
or
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
Chris Deutsch, (703) 575-9400 ext. 1857
cdeutsch@nadcp.org


© Business Wire 2012
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