Comal County Accountability Court
The Comal County Accountability Court was created in 2009 to promote public safety by reducing the repeat arrest rates of DWI offenders. When Judge Gray admits a participant to the Court, He informs of the following: “a defendant convicted twice for Driving while Intoxicated (DWI 2nd) has a 75% chance of being arrested a third time (DWI 3rd). Successful graduation from a certified DWI Court program (such as the Comal County Accountability Court) drops that repeat arrest rate down to 25%. “
The Accountability Court combines substance abuse treatment with participant accountability, enhanced supervision and continued judicial monitoring. It is a rigorous Court-centered program designed to give participants the tools to enable them to be sober law abiding members of society while holding them accountable for their actions. During the 12 to 18 months the participants are in the program they must attend weekly mandatory hearings, be visited by their probation officer at their home and work, and successfully complete intensive substance abuse treatment and counseling. Frequent alcohol testing is done to ensure sobriety. SCRAM (secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring) and IGNITION INTERLOCK (alcohol detection device) are monitoring devices used to ensure compliance. Sanctions are imposed swiftly, rather than months or years later.
As of 10/01/18, the Comal County Accountability Court has had 127 graduates. The Court saves taxpayer money, because the Participants are not jailed at a cost of $71.00 per day. For example, had those 127 graduates been jailed for 180 days, the costs to jail them would have been $1,623.060.00 (127 participants X $71.00 cost per day X 180 days). Of course, this cost would go up if the participants were jailed for a longer period of time, (up to 365 days) as would be expected for a DWI 2nd.
The Accountability Court Team consists of representatives from all aspects of the criminal justice system, including the Court and support staff, Adult Probation, the Criminal Defense Bar, the District Attorney’s Office, and Law Enforcement.
The Comal County Accountability Court was honored with the Spotlight on Success Outstanding Team Award at the 2015 DWI Court Team Conference in Dallas, Texas.