Bexar County is trying a new tactic for treating repeat-DWI offenders that focuses on rehabilitation rather than just punishment.

Studies show that in San Antonio, one out of every five drivers arrested for DWI has been arrested before.

They will do their time. They come out with the same problem going in. And they will be the same risk level that they were going in, and they will go right back to it, Bexar County Judge Liza Rodriguez said.

She said these high recidivism rates prompted a brand-new DWI court that is set to launch next month.

Jail sentences alone won't change repeat offenders' behavior, but staying clean though 24 months of alcohol-abuse treatment may keep them from ending up back behind bars, Rodriguez said.

The new program will start with 40 of the county's worst offenders.

We need the drunk driving to stop, she said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the new tactic.

There's real data that shows that if certain sanctions and incentives are put into place for those who are in a DWI court, that the recidivism rate will be reduced. That's what Bexar County needs, MADD's Jennifer Northway said.

The frequency of drunk driving isn't the only problem. The average San Antonio driver arrested for DWI has a blood-alcohol level of .15 -- nearly twice the legal limit.

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