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What Is the South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Project?

Created On Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On Tuesday, 11, May 2021

The 24/7 sobriety project is a court-based management program, which was originally designed for DUI offenders. The program sets a standard for no-use alcohol and no-use drugs as a condition for an offender to continue to drive and remain in the community rather than going to prison. This is enforced by law enforcement agencies in the state, and drug testing is mandated for each individual. If the person violates the conditions of the programs they are placed in jail. The program does reduce the rate of recidivism, improves public safety, serves as an alternative to incarceration, and reduces the number of people in local jails. This program also allows offenders to remain in the community with their family and friends and permits offenders to maintain employment.

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If someone has been arrested for a DUI on multiple occasions, the program utilizes a variety of mechanisms to ensure abstinence from alcohol and drugs. For example, this would include twice-daily breath testing for alcohol, ankle bracelets that monitor for alcohol consumption, drug patches that collect sweat samples, and lab drug testing. The offenders are also given breath and urine tests by the local sheriff's office. State law does require all DUI offenders to participate in treatment programs upon being convicted. The 24/7 Sobriety Project does not incorporate any screening, assessments, or treatment for the offender. The treatment programs and the justice system in the state do work alongside one another but are also separate.

The program has seen good results, considering that almost half of the participants have been convicted three or more times for a DUI offense. For example, in 2010 there were 13,000 offenders who participated in the twice-daily alcohol breath testing. There were over 2.4 million tests, and the pass rate was 99.6%. Along with this number, over 66% of the offenders were completely compliant during their entire term of participation. These types of prevention programs do work and help reduce the number of people caught up in the criminal justice system because of their addiction.


Nickolaus Hayes - Author

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