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Program Profile: South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on April 06, 2015

Program Summary

The program seeks to reduce the recidivism of offenders previously convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) through intensive testing and monitoring of drug and alcohol consumption. The main goal is to encourage sobriety of offenders 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The program is rated Promising. The program led to significant reduction in repeat DUI and domestic violence arrests, but did not impact first-time DUI arrests or traffic crashes.

Program Description

Program Goals
The South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Project was designed as a nontraditional approach to reduce the recidivism of repeat offenders convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The program seeks to reduce recidivism through intensive testing and monitoring of alcohol consumption. The main goal is to encourage sobriety of offenders 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Offenders can avoid incarceration as long as they abstain from alcohol and drug use. Swift and certain sanctions are used for offenders who test positive for substance use.

Target Population
The program initially targeted repeat DUI offenders. The program was later expanded to target first-time DUI offenders and individuals arrested or convicted for other offenses, such as assault, domestic violence, or child abuse and neglect.

Program Components
DUI offenders are placed in the 24/7 Sobriety Project as a condition of bail, sentencing, probation, parole, or child custody or visitation orders. The program monitors abstinence from alcohol and drug use through a variety of tests, including: 1) twice-a-day breathalyzer tests, 2) alcohol monitoring ankle bracelets, 3) Ignition Interlock, and 4) drug patch and urine testing. Breathalyzer tests are done at 12-hour intervals (once in the morning and once in the evening). The electronic ankle bracelets (called Secure Continuous Alcohol Remote Monitor or SCRAM bracelets) allow for continuous monitoring of alcohol consumption by law enforcement with daily remote electronic reporting. Participants may also be required to wear drug patches to monitor drug use (patches are worn for 7–10 days and then mailed in), or provide random urine samples twice a week. Program participants may be placed on one or more types of tests at the same time. In 2012, the program was expanded to require the use of ignition interlock devices for some participants. Not only are participants required to provide a breath test when starting and operating their vehicle, every participant must submit a breath test at prescribed times twice a day. In addition, participants are required to cover the costs of their tests.
If program participants test positive for substance use, they are immediately subject to a short jail term (usually 1 or 2 days). Failure to show for a scheduled test may result in an arrest warrant for the participant. Further, offenders’ bond, parole, or probation may be revoked if they fail or skip tests.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
First-Time DUI Arrests
Kilmer and colleagues (2013) found that South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project did not significantly affect first-time driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) arrests.
Repeat DUI Arrests
The program significantly impacted repeat DUI arrests. The analysis suggested that the program led to a 12 percent reduction in repeat arrests for DUI.
Domestic Violence Arrests
The program also significantly impacted arrests for domestic violence. The analysis suggested that the program reduced arrests for domestic violence by 9 percent.
Traffic Crashes
The program did not significantly affect overall measures of traffic crashes (although it was noted there was a significant reduction in traffic crashes involving males aged 18 to 40 years).
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Kilmer and colleagues (2013) studied the effects of South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project by comparing changes in public health outcomes between 2001 and 2010 in counties that implemented the program with control counties that did not implement the program. Data from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office was used to determine when the program was implemented in counties within the state. The database included information on participant-level data (such as demographic characteristics, county of residence, and dates of participation) as well as information about every test (such as date and time of each test and the result) for all individuals who participated in the program since it began in 2005.
Between 2005 and 2010, 63 percent of new program participants entered for a DUI offense, 6 percent entered for community corrections violations, 5 percent for domestic violence, 5 percent for assault, 5 percent for drug possession, and 17 percent for other offenses. Half of new program participants were aged 18 to 40 years when they entered the program. The majority of participants in the program during this time were white. No information was provided on other races/ethnicities or gender.
The program was considered operational in a county once the number of county residents participating in the program for a given month equaled or exceeded a quarter of the number of DUI arrests in the county. DUI arrests were defined as the county’s moving monthly average during the previous year, to address any seasonality. In 2005, five counties were piloting the program. By the end of 2006, 19 counties were administering tests for the program.
The primary outcomes of interest included arrests for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), arrests for domestic violence, and traffic crashes. Data on DUI and domestic violence arrests from 2001 to 2010 came from the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation. Arrests for DUI were examined separately for first-time offenders and repeat offenders. Data on traffic crashes reported to the police from 2004 to 2010 came from the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety.

A number of time-varying county characteristics were controlled for in the analyses, including unemployment rate, snowfall, per capita police officers, per capita on- and off-premises alcohol outlets, an indicator variable for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and an indicator variable for whether college was in session (for the four counties with substantial student populations). Because the outcome measures involved count data and included zeroes, Poisson regression was used to analyze the data.
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Participants of South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project are required to cover the costs of the program. Examples of program fees include: a $2 per day test fee for the twice-a-day breathalyzer test, $10 per urinalysis test, $40 per drug patch, $40 activation fee of the electronic ankle bracelet, and $6 daily monitoring fee (Mabry n/d).
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Implementation Information

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For more information about the 24/7 Sobriety Project, please see South Dakota’s Office of the Attorney General’s program Web site:
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Kilmer, Beau, Nancy Nicosia, Paul Heaton, and Greg Midgette. 2013. “Efficacy of Frequent Monitoring with Swift, Certain, and Modest Sanctions for Violations: Insights from South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project.” American Journal of Public Health 103(1):e37–e43.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Caulkins, Jonathan P., and Robert L. Dupont. 2010. “Is 24/7 Sobriety a Good Goal for Repeat Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Offenders?” Addiction 105(4):575–77.

Kilmer, Beau, and Keith Humphreys. 2013. “Losing You ‘License to Drink’: The Radical South Dakota Approach to Heavy Drinkers Who Threaten Public Safety.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs 20(1):267–279.

Loudenburg, Roland, Gregg Drube, and Gary Leonardson. 2010. South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program Evaluation Findings Report. Salem, N.D.: Mountain Plans Evaluation, LLC. (This study was reviewed but did not meet Crime Solutions' criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

Mabry, Art. n/d. South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program. PowerPoint presentation. Pierre, S.D.: South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, Department of Criminal Investigation.

Talpins, Stephen K., Robert B. Voas, Robert L. DuPont, and Corinne L. Shea. 2010. “Smart Justice for DWI Offenders: Cost Effective Solutions that Reduce Recidivism and Promote Public Safety.” The Journal of Offender Monitoring:9–12.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Probation/Parole Services, Electronic Monitoring, Alcohol and Drug Prevention, General deterrence, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Program Director:
Art Program Components
24/7 Sobriety Program Coordinator
South Dakota Attorney General’s Office
25 Center Street
Vermillion SD 57069
Phone: 605.202.0387

Beau Kilmer
Co-Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
RAND Corporation
1776 Main Street M5E
Santa Monica CA 90401