4. The Driving Offender Treatment (DOT) programme

The DOT programme was developed by Bakker, Ward, Cryer and Hudson (1997) in response to the high recidivism rates of offenders convicted of driving while disqualified (DWD). As documented by Bakker et al. (1997) and Bakker, Hudson and Ward (2000) the DOT programme is a relapse prevention based intervention that focuses on the cognitive behavioural processes that lead a DWD offender to recidivate. It has been delivered in a group format to community based and incarcerated offenders.

Bakker et al. (2000) published an international peer-reviewed evaluation of the DOT programme. In this study 144 male DOT participants were matched with 144 no-treatment DWD offenders according to age, ethnicity, number of previous DWD offences, alcohol related offences, and other criminal convictions. Survival analysis was employed to control for the differing lengths of follow-up (the control group had a maximum of 6 years follow-up while the treatment group follow-up period ranged from 3 years to 1 month [mean=405 days]). Time to re-offence was corrected for any periods of incarceration. Survival analysis indicated that 46.4% of the DOT treatment group had been reconvicted for DWD as compared to 64.6% of the control group. This represents a significant treatment effect size (specific to DWD) of approximately r=+.18. Results comparing the two groups on alcohol related driving convictions (effect size of approximately r=+.04) and general recidivism (effect size of approximately r=+.10) were in the same direction, but in initial analyses were not statistically significant (Gehan Wilcoxon test = 0.53, p<.48 for alcohol related recidivism; Gehan Wilcoxon test = -1.55, p<.061 for general recidivism). However, when drop-outs were excluded from the analysis, the treatment effect for general recidivism did achieve significance (effect size of approximately r=+.15, Gehan Wilcoxon test = -1.71, p=.04). The DOT programme is therefore relative unique in that it is effective at reducing the frequency of the specific behaviour targeted (DWD) and also has a more generalised, albeit smaller, effect on recidivism (any criminal offending).