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Report

Evaluating the Utility of Sobering Centers: Analyses of Police and Sobering Centers Across Five Jurisdictions

Publication Date

April 2023

Author(s)

Robin S. Engel, Gabrielle T. Isaza, Jennifer Calnon Cherkauskas, Nicholas Corsaro, and Ryan Motz.

Abstract

This report documents the findings from the second and third phases of a broader research study designed to examine the utility of sobering centers as an alternative to arrest. Using five jurisdictions as case study sites, we conducted comprehensive examinations of sobering center operations and police use of this arrest alternative in Oklahoma City, OK; Tulsa, OK; Wichita, KS; Austin, TX; and Houston, TX. Across each site, we examined admission and client data from sobering centers and arrest data from police departments to determine the impact of each sobering center. We conducted focus groups with police officers in four of the five jurisdictions to understand officer decision-making in diversion to sobering centers. Findings support the benefits of sobering centers as an alternative to arrest, particularly as a tool for diverting unhoused members of the public away from the criminal justice system for minor offenses.

Research Design

Non-experimental

Research Methods

Case study, Secondary data analysis, Focus groups

Recommended Citation

Corsaro, N., Motz, R., Isaza, G. T., Cherkauskas, J. C., & Engel, R. S. (2023). Examining the utility of sobering centers: Analyses of police and sobering centers across five jurisdictions. National Policing Institute. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/evaluating-the-utility-of-sobering-centers-analyses-of-police-and-sobering-centers-across-five-jurisdictions/