More success from Yakima County's DUI Court

More success from Yakima County's DUI Court »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Yakima County's DUI Court celebrated another milestone today: two new graduates. This brings the total number of graduates to five. KIMA looked at the expenses associated with the program in the past. Court workers say the program doesn't just affect the lives of the participants.

After years of making the wrong decisions, Dayel Washins got a second chance at life. She says it was courtesy of Yakima County's DUI Court.

"It's very, very hard, but if you're willing to change, if you're willing to change and follow not just the rules, but be able to accept that, you know, this is a life changer, not just, you know, a to do list," said Washins.

Eighteen months of intensive treatment is finally starting to pay off. Dayel just moved in to a new apartment, and is set to finish barber school in the next six months. It's a goal she's had for years. But, it didn't become a reality until she got sober.

"The only thing that I saw as a success was being able to make a paycheck, being able to pay all my bills, not necessarily doing something that I love," said Washins.

It's cases like Dayel's that members of the DUI court team point to as making their efforts worthwhile.

"What did they look like when they got booked into jail, the day of their most recent arrest and what do they look like at the end, said Hon. Donald Engel, Yakima County District Court Judge. "It's really pretty amazing just to physically look at these people and how much better they are physically, how much better health they are in."

The program has cost $200,000 so far. Five people have graduated, but nearly 20 have participated. That's a cost of about $8,000 per person. The prosecutor's office says this is a savings in the long run when you consider the costs of sending a repeat DUI offender to jail.

Dayel knows that will never be her.

"So I can honestly say today I won't, you know, tomorrow I won't," said Washins.

And likely saves more than one life in the process.

Each participant has to pay $1,800 and finish more than 80 hours of community service before graduating. Officials say the program will be considered for another $100,000 grant next year.