Jailing for addictions does not make much sense but what’s the alternative?

In Texas repeat DWI drivers must have an interlock ignition device installed in their vehicles for two years or longer. The cost to do that is not cheap. Installation runs about $200 and monthly fees can be close to $100. Nonetheless, despite the expense, repeat offenders do have their devices removed eventually. That too comes with a large expense: $125 reinstatement fee to reclaim a full driver’s license.

The irony of ignition interlock devices is that Texas never permanently revokes a DWI offender’s license. It doesn’t matter how many suspensions a driver racks up. Even after repeated DWI convictions, an offender never loses their license permanently.

Consider the case of a Houston man who got life in prison after his ninth DWI conviction. At the time he was arrested for that incident, he had a valid driver’s license. Alcoholism is a disease recognized by medical practitioners. As such, jailing alcoholics is similar to putting someone in jail for cancer or some other form of illness, such as MS or Parkinson’s.

That being said, the question becomes how to deal with those who do not want to stop drinking and driving because they are dangerous to society. The only answer is jail time, interlock devices, scram ankle bracelets, sentences, fines and forced rehabilitation. While none of these things may ultimately work on all those with drinking problems, it may reach a few and get them off the streets.

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