Key Findings & Observations

Project Description

Colorado is the thirteenth of seventeen states to implement Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Court Monitoring Project. NHTSA identified Court Monitoring as a countermeasure proven for increasing convictions when selecting effective, evidence-based practices in traffic safety. A three-year CDOT Grant currently funds this project. Colorado’s Court Monitoring community-based project began in January 2019. MADD Colorado developed the Court Monitoring Project in response to receiving feedback and concerns from law enforcement and district attorney partners regarding inconsistencies in sentencing and varying approaches to impaired driving convictions across judicial districts. The project seeks to better understand current successes and challenges within the DUI process. Engaging young people as volunteer court monitors has added to program effectiveness and prevention efforts. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System has inspired many interns to aspire to work within victim services, disposition, and rehabilitation of DUI Offenders. Additionally, increasing public awareness helps shift public perception of intoxicated driving offenses and the associated consequences and serves as a reminder that drunk and drugged driving incidents and crashes are 100% preventable. MADD Colorado’s Court Monitoring Project recruits and trains volunteers and student interns to observe and collect data on misdemeanor impaired driving offenses. Court monitoring is intended to increase transparency and accountability within the Court system. Monitors collect data while observing DUI cases and extract additional information from a specific state or county-wide databases. An advisory committee reviews all aspects of the project and assists MADD Colorado in identifying an established baseline in each judicial district. Once the baseline is established, extracted data will be examined to determine if any trends, gaps, and inconsistencies exist. When supported findings are obtained, information may be presented to the bench, prosecutors, law enforcement, and other key stakeholders. Monitors are required to complete a minimum of four hours of observation per week. On average, monitors are spending nine hours per week completing their duties. State standardized data collection forms are provided to each monitor and preliminary data is collected during the observations. The remaining information is collected through record abstraction until a disposition is reached. Current data sources used in abstraction include the Denver Courts website and the State Court Administrators Office vendor, Background Information Systems (BIS). The data obtained from the two programs are not equivalent. Consequently, specific data can be collected in Denver County and not in other counties using the BIS system. Once a minimum of three years of data is available, further analysis of trends will occur.

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