DUI Hotel can replace the system of using electronic monitoring bracelets, which county officials report costs $2 million a year in taxpayer dollars. However, not everyone is behind the program. George Saurman is a former seven-term state representative from Montgomery County who said, “The whole idea of sentencing people to jail is for safety — for their own safety and for other people’s safety. For anyone to have the idea that now that they’ve been caught, they can serve out their time in a hotel, rather than having the punishment imposed, is absolutely insane. I can’t see any motivation or justification for modifying the penalty. It’s inexcusable, as far as I’m concerned.”
The program was adopted in 2010, and Allegheny was the first county in Pennsylvania to use it. Now Westmoreland County officials are considering it too.
Anna Duerr, a spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said that the program would not act as a deterrent to driving while intoxicated. “There is no science to show that sentencing convicted drunk drivers to serve time in a hotel helps to stop repeat offenses,” she said.