Analysis of South Dakota 24-7 Sobriety program data
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Analysis of South Dakota 24-7 Sobriety program data.

Mountain Plains Evaluation, LLC.
Mountain Plains Evaluation, LLC, 2007.

Analysis of data routinely collected by South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety project reveals that offenders test alcohol-free at 99% of the scheduled twice-daily tests intended to enforce abstinence via the threat of a bail violation leading to immediate brief imprisonment.

Summary The South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety programme requires repeat drink-driving arrestees to submit to twice-daily (7–9am and 7–9pm) alcohol testing as a condition of bail. Failed tests constitute a violation of bail bond terms and are punishable by immediate 24-hour imprisonment; missed tests lead to an arrest warrant. The data included in this analysis was exported from the project's web-based management information system maintained by the Office of the Attorney General.

Data provided for analysis included all 1074 participants with a drink-driving offence collected via the system from inception of the programme through to the end of November 2006. About half the defendants had at least three drink-driving convictions. All were tested twice a day for on average 111 days. Testing results were available for 1021 participants. They had showed up and completed 165,456 tests out of 166,222 scheduled tests. Missed or 'No Showed' tests occurred 766 times of which 407 were excused leaving only 359 for which a documented excuse was not recorded. Therefore, participants are showing up and being tested or have excused missed tests for over 99.8% of the scheduled tests.

Of the tests taken, participants passed (ie, were alcohol-free) 165,105 (99.3% of the scheduled tests) and failed 534. After review of the data, it is believed that the actual number of failed tests is lower because numerous test failures appear to have been entered more than once in to the database. From a review of the records, it appears that when individuals fail and consequences are imposed, subsequent compliance increases. In summary, individuals are overwhelmingly showing up and being tested, and for individuals who do not show up or who blow a positive test, consequences are being imposed. Therefore one can conclude that the overall result of the programme is a reduction in drinking and driving among the participants.

Findings logo commentary For related Findings entries on 24/7 Sobriety and similar testing-based programmes see:
A new paradigm for long-term recovery
Setting the standard for recovery: physicians' health programs
Managing drug involved probationers with swift and certain sanctions: evaluating Hawaii's HOPE
Is 24/7 Sobriety a good goal for repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders?
South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program evaluation findings report
The 24/7 Sobriety Project

Last revised 12 March 2011

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