public threat posed by inebriated motorists is now a very
public national issue. Yet even before public officials
and interest groups began their crusade against this critical
concern, the judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County
began addressing this problem within their districts, assuming
a strong leadership role in the management of DUI offenders.
It was in response to this concern of jurists in the Chicago
metropolitan area that Monsignor Ignatius
McDermott established the Alcohol Safety Education
Program (ASEP) in 1971. The purpose of this program
is to educate DUI offenders on the effects of alcohol on
both their bodies and their lives.
McDermott had ministered to individuals from all social
sectors who had succumbed to over-indulgence of alcohol
before becoming involved in the DUI dilemma. From his own
personal experiences with these individuals and the effects
of their alcohol use on their lives and those of their families,
he grew to believe that alcoholism is a disease whose progress
could be interrupted or averted through education. Many
physicians agreed with his judgment, and as local jurists
had come to similar conclusions, risk reduction education
became the core of the court ordered DUI program in Cook
Msgr. McDermott raised funds to support the classes, but
in 1972, costs were assumed by the Illinois Department of
Transportation and then, in 1976, shifted by the courts
to the DUI offenders themselves.
along with its mother agency, Central States Institute
of Addiction, assumed the role of assessing the level
risk to public safety an individual who has been arrested
for a DUI offense poses, and the probability that this individual
will commit the offense again. ASEP's educational arm became
a separate agency, Intervention Instruction Inc. (I.I.I.),
effects of risk reduction education grew, so did the demand
put on agencies necessary to meet the need of the courts.
I.I.I. chose to focus its resources and expertise on the
first-offender population. This decision was based on the
belief that a first DUI offense creates a uniquely educable
moment in the life of the offender. Thus, the first time
offender may be the one most open to changing his behavior
concerning drinking and driving.
I.I.I. Risk Reduction education program has been extraordinarily
successful, and has been publicly acknowledged as having
a less than 5 percent recidivism rate in congratulatory
reports by the Illinois Department of Transportation in
with Msgr. McDermott's ministry to persons living in poverty,
Intervention Instruction has a variety of payment options
for the indigent and those otherwise in financial difficulty.
I.I.I. regularly reduces or writes off fees for the financially
distressed DUI offenders within Cook County. This fee reduction
is done on a case by case basis through an individualized
process that includes a one-on-one interview with a Counselor
who helps the client assess his or her financial need.
Instruction, Inc. sees its mission as having a positive
effect on recidivism among those who commit a first DUI
by changing their substance use behavior through education
and treatment as needed. Its financial assistance policy
and procedures are further demonstration of this dedication
to its client population.
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