Release - October 22, 2002
Office of the Commissioner of Probation
More Information, Contact:
Holland, Director of Communications
Probation Officer’s First Time Offender Program
Nets Sobering Results
offenders charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol,
who previously paid a $50 fine and were sent home, must now face
the sober reality of the Alcohol Awareness Program, an initiative
designed by Brockton District Court Probation Officer Audrey Banks.
reluctant when they first start Alcohol Awareness, most offenders
graduate from the five-week program convinced not to repeat their
mistake. In fact, participants are exposed to men and women who
live with their painful mistakes everyday of their lives.
really opened my eyes more to what I could eventually get myself
into,” said Frederick “Fred” Tully Jr., a 19-year-old
is one of 90 mostly high school and college men, aged 17-22, who
have gone through Alcohol Awareness which was launched last spring.
Although the program is not limited to men, Banks said the majority
of first-time offenders are male. The program, the first of its
kind in the state, is offered at Brockton District Court four times
a year: September, October, January and April.
were a lot of individuals going through the court without a consequence.
By developing this program, I hoped to bring awareness to these
young people about the harmful effects of alcohol and other illicit
drugs. This is more of a preventative measure. I felt that they
weren’t getting the point when they were made to pay $50
and then sent home,” Banks said.
program features a joint workshop offered by the Mother’s
Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Veteran Administration’s
RISE (Regaining Insight Through Self-Evaluation) Program, a residential
program for veterans with substance abuse issues. The workshop
examines the life-course of addiction and the key warning signs
of alcohol and drug abuse. Program participants are required to
attend two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and must submit to the
Minnesota Alcohol Screening Test which identifies early addiction
behaviors. To participate in the program, offenders must be referred
by the District Attorney and/or Police Prosecutor. The offenders’ case
is continued without a finding for six months. Once offenders complete
the program, they are brought back before a judge who then dismisses
parents are in favor of the program because their son or daughter
are confronted with the consequences of a life of substance abuse.
In the MADD session, they hear from victims whose children were
killed in drunk driving accidents,” said Banks. “This
program helps offenders examine how addiction impacts the lives
and safety of other people. Having the offender participate in
the program ensures that they are accountable for their behavior.
It is our hope that they will make a better decision which will
deter future criminal behavior or addiction.”
Smollett, 22 and a recent program graduate, said the best part
of the program was going to the A.A. meetings. “I got to
hear real stories from real people.”