Efficacy of Frequent Monitoring With Swift, Certain, and Modest Sanctions for Violations: Insights From South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project

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Abstract

Objectives

We examined the public health impact of South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project, an innovative program requiring individuals arrested for or convicted of alcohol-involved offenses to submit to breathalyzer tests twice per day or wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet. Those testing positive are subject to swift, certain, and modest sanctions.

Methods

We conducted differences-in-differences analyses comparing changes in arrests for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), arrests for domestic violence, and traffic crashes in counties to the program with counties without the program.

Results

Between 2005 and 2010, more than 17 000 residents of South Dakota-including more than 10% of men aged 18 to 40 years in some counties-had participated in the 24/7 program. At the county level, we documented a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests (P = .023) and a 9% reduction in domestic violence arrests (P = .035) following adoption of the program. Evidence for traffic crashes was mixed.

Conclusions

In community supervision settings, frequent alcohol testing with swift, certain, and modest sanctions for violations can reduce problem drinking and improve public health outcomes.

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