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Brown County Browser: Adult Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) for repeat DWI offenders

Brown County Browser

Of the many different correctional programming opportunities the Brown County Probation Department offers to serve the adult probation clients, the adult intensive supervision program (ISP) is one of the longest running programs of its kind in the State of Minnesota. Made possible by a state grant, the adult intensive supervision program (ISP) began in 1994. Probation agents supervise clients in the communities of New Ulm, Hanska, Sleepy Eye, Cobden, Comfrey, and Springfield.

The adult ISP combines three important elements: accountability, substance use disorder treatment program involvement and immediate sanctions for relapse usage violations. ISP focuses on holding clients accountable by requiring multiple client/agent contacts, remaining abstinent and chemical free and submitting to regular random chemical testing. ISP has a zero tolerance policy for any alcohol or drug usage and any such violation will result in the offender immediately being taken into custody and being returned to court for further proceedings.

How do offenders get referred to ISP? The probation agent responsible for monitoring pre-trial cases does the initial background and criminal history screening of all the incoming DWI offenders. This agent uses selection criteria to identify potential ISP participants such as: DWI offenses with High Blood alcohol contents, recent prior convictions for DWI offenses, past traffic offenses involving the presences or ingestion of alcohol and or mood altering chemicals, and current and past diagnosis for substance use disorder(s). Once the pre-trial agent identifies one or more of the selection criteria then a recommendation is made to the director of probation to assign the case to the agent responsible for the ISP caseload.

When an adult offender is Court-ordered into the program, the ISP agent will explain the various phases of the program and review the requirements and expectations specified in the Court’s order and the intensive probation agreement with the offender. Each phase of the program enforces and/or monitors the following components at varying degrees based on need and overall progress:

• Jail

• Curfew

• Random unannounced home and field visits at any time, day or night

• Frequent breath- and urine-based alcohol/drug testing

• Employment

• Involvement in healthy, positive, and chemically free activities/support group meetings

• Substance use disorder treatment and/or therapy groups/counseling

• Personal property searches

• Immediate consequences for violations of the program (i.e. jail, electronic home monitoring house arrest, detox, updated assessments, phase reduction, community work service hours, etc…)

Historically, there have been more than 300 participants in the adult ISP since it began. The average age of the participants is 38 years old and the average blood alcohol content at the time of arrest is .18. Excluding the current participants, 194 of the past participants successfully completed the program, and 78 participants were discharged unsuccessfully from the program and were sentenced to jail. Our statistics have proven this to be a worthwhile program for Brown County and for repeat DWI offenders to get their lives back on track.

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