The exact nature of the relationship between alcohol abuse and offending remains unclear. The problem of how to address this relationship remains a matter of debate. The importance of dealing with this problem in the most effective way is highlighted by the need to maximise existing resources at a time of financial restraint. The goal is to design and implement interventions specific to the parameters of the problem – recognising the characteristics of the target population, and the demands of the judicial system.

Alcohol Education Courses (AECs) offer a range of techniques. From didactic information-based courses, through non-directive discussion courses, to behavioural skills packages, an attempt to intervene at a secondary level is made. The abusive alcohol consumption level of the population, or the problem of offending, or both, serve as that main targets of courses. If successful, these courses may offer a viable alternative to custodial sentencing, addressing the pre-senting problem directly. Evaluation of such services is crucial to their further implementation, with promising initial findings from controlled evaluation research.