Program Type: Monitoring
Program Location: South Dakota
Lead Agency: The South Dakota Attorney General's Office
The Issue: Recidivism
Program Target Population: Repeat Offenders
Hardcore Offenders

Program Description:

In counties implementing the program, first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of at least 0.17% and repeat DUI offenders must participate in the 24/7 Sobriety Program in order to obtain a conditional driver’s license. The 24/7 Sobriety Program is being used by the courts as a condition of bond, sentence/probation, and family courts. The program stresses separating the offender from alcohol as a method to rehabilitate drunk drivers and change behavior. The program uses several tools to make sure that the participants are following the program guidelines. The tools include: twice-a-day breath tests (PBTx2), transdermal monitoring systems, drug patches and urine tests. Additionally, participants may be required by the court to use more than one testing/monitoring method.

Of the tools available, PBTx2 is the most common monitoring tool used. If participants don’t show up for a scheduled test, or a test shows he has consumed alcohol, then his probation, parole or bond may be instantly revoked and he may be immediately jailed. Sanctions are swift, certain, and measured.  Sanctions most often afford a reinstatement into the program.

The program allows for a considerable amount of freedom for the offender. For example, participants can still drive, work and stay with their families. This reduces jail populations and allows participants to continue to be part of their community.

Program Effectiveness:  

Evidenced in a study by the RAND Corporation, the 24/7 Sobriety Project is showing favorable results in reducing problem drinking and improving public health outcomes. As published in the American Journal of Public Health in November 2012, the study showed that between 2005 and 2010 there was a reduction in the incidence of heavy drinking among the 17,000 participants, as well as a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests.  The complete study by the RAND Corporation is available through the American Journal of Public Health.

Program Cost-Effectiveness:

The program has evolved into a participant pay model with formal adopted rules and procedures.  The web-based 24/7 management software coordinates data, testing sites, and communicates information to all agencies that touch the system and administer the project.  No taxpayer dollars are necessary to operate.  Flexibility is built into the business model and allows the testing agency to utilize existing or new resources to maximize efficiencies.  Price points for testing have been kept low eliminating the need for indigency considerations by the courts.

Source of Funding: 

  • Program is funded entirely by participant fees.

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Criminal justice authorities need to be convinced of the benefits of the program and that it is not “soft on crime.”  The 24/7 Sobriety Program allows law enforcement and other agencies that touch the criminal justice system to be proactive in the fight against drunk driving.

Formal Evaluation(s) of Program:

South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program Evaluation Findings Report

An Evaluation of Intensive Supervision Programs for Serious DWI Offenders


For more information on this program, please contact:
Bill Mickelson
Mickelson Consulting Group LLC
916 Cambridge Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501