York County DUI court earns certification from Pa. Supreme Court


A York County courts system program that aims to keep people who are arrested for drunken driving from re-offending has gained accreditation from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The county's DUI Treatment Court joined 12 others in the state in gaining accreditation.

State officials awarded the accreditation certificate to York County Court of Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy during the commissioners' weekly meeting Wednesday.

During the presentation ceremony, state Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin said the county's DUI treatment court and ones like it across the state work to address underlying issues that land drunk drivers in a courtroom.

"It will do things that address not only what has happened but might prevent what might happen," Eakin said.

Process: To gain accreditation, the county's program was put through a rigorous review process that included site visits by state officials, document reviews and interviews with court employees and some people who have gone through the program, said Karen Blackburn, problem solving courts program administrator with the state courts office.

Since the county launched its DUI treatment court in 2010, 150 people have gone through the program, and only nine of them have committed another crime. It is one of seven treatment courts in the county.

Kennedy credited staff associated with the program with it receiving accreditation.

He added the county's Target 25 has played a key part in the success of the program.

Launched in 2011, Target 25 deals with people who are arrested on DUI charges while awaiting the resolution of a previous DUI charge in court. That situation applies to about 25 percent of all DUI cases — hence the "25" in the program's name.

Through the program, many of the people arrested again are placed on supervised bail, with conditions such as drug testing and alcohol monitoring. In 2013, the county saved nearly $320,000 when 38 people weren't sent to prison but instead took part in the program.

"We're seen the results at graduations," Steve Chronister, president commissioner, said. "We've seen the results in our budget."

— Reach Greg Gross at