Is prison the answer? | RecordCourier.com

Is prison the answer?

An anonymous caller on Friday pointed out that a person who admitted to a felony DUI was not incarcerated and asked why that wasn't a story.

We don't have caller ID here, and the person didn't leave contact information. So here's the answer for all to see. Very few people who admit to a third DUI in seven years actually go to prison.

Heck, people who are arrested with cocaine and heroin rarely go to prison, even though those are felonies.

That's because in Nevada, we've decided that rather than put people in prison, we're going to try and separate them from the substances that are causing the problem.

The person in question is on a DUI diversion program, which lasts 3-5 years, and can result in their felony guilty plea being withdrawn and replaced with a misdemeanor.

We've been told the program is difficult and it places the burden of cost on the person. The goal is to get people to stop drinking and driving, something that is a hazard to every single person in this county.

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It also means we aren't paying the roughly $20,000 a year to keep someone in prison for the 1-6-year sentence, and maybe won't see them drinking and driving after they're released after pretty much the first year.

It's in all of our best interests that people are successful in these programs, so we don't detail their comings and goings, unless something new is happening.

Keep in mind that a subsequent DUI is considered a felony, and will result in a much longer prison sentence.

Should they fail and end up going to prison, we'll report that. But we're rooting for them to succeed. Isn't that something we should all hope for?