24/7 Sobriety Programs – Immediate Sanctions, Lasting Effects

A 24/7 sobriety program – a law enforcement concept that began as a pilot program in South Dakota in 2005 – sets a standard of no use of alcohol and no use of illegal drugs as an ordered condition for: bond, post-sentence probation, work permits, parole, corrections and other special conditions. While on this program, participants remain in society, conducting their daily lives and fulfilling their responsibilities, as long as they comply with and pass rigorous ongoing sobriety testing.

Not all monitoring programs will produce the results that have come from Evidence Based 24/7 Sobriety Programs. The data shows that testing alone does not have the impact on long term behavioral change that you find when applying an Evidence Based 24/7 program.

An Evidence Based 24/7 Sobriety Program is designed to maintain sobriety for offenders of crimes that have a nexus to drug or alcohol use.  The core premise of the Program is that in order to affect behavioral change, a consequence should be imposed immediately after a violation has occurred. It is believed that as the span of time between a non-compliant event and the sanction increases, the long term effect on behavioral change diminishes.

Not all 24/7 programs are Evidence Based 24/7 Sobriety Programs.

The Evidence Based 24/7 Sobriety Program, in its simplest form, requires a program participant to submit to a breath alcohol test at a centralized location twice per day; approximately 12 hours apart.  The participant – not the enrolling Agency – is responsible for the cost of the test ($2 per test, $4 per day).  If the Participant tests clean, s/he can go about a normal day and go to school or work, be with his/her family, etc.  If the Participant fails to submit to the test or fails the test because of the presence of alcohol, his/her bond (assuming he is coming from a court enrollment) is immediately revoked and s/he is taken directly to jail and waits to see a judge.  The judge decides what steps to take next: re-institute 24/7 testing, increase supervision, enroll in treatment or incarcerate.

Often a developing program is sold technologies, by vendors that have little or no experience with 24/7 sobriety programs.   These products are often sold for the convenience or ease of use for the Participant.  Home or Remote Monitoring, testing through Kiosks or even the use of Ignition Interlock devices offer self-testing alternatives, but do not offer an immediate response to a violation nor evidential grade results. If impacting recidivism rates are the goal of your program, pick a technology where non-compliance can be addressed immediately. These other devices may be used where a participant is unable to test with a method that can provide immediate consequences, but they should be used as the exception, not the rule.

The peer reviewed data has demonstrated that in programs where 85% of the participants were on the twice a day (2 x day) testing and 15% were tested with transdermal testing devices, long term recidivism rates decreased.

Twice a day testing, administered by a third party, is a 24/7 Sobriety Program in its purest form, but in order to accommodate hardship cases, where Participants cannot get to and from a central testing location and maintain a job, schooling or a healthy family life, the program allows flexibility in the testing methodologies.

To date, monitoring of alcohol use through a transdermal bracelet technology has been the documented alternative alcohol detection methodology.  It should be recognized that the data gathered to date, indicates there are major tradeoffs by using transdermal and other remote testing methodologies.  These technologies:

  • do not provide immediate results
  • do not provide an immediate application of a sanction for non-compliance
  • have not produced peer reviewed data that indicates that they impact long term recidivism rates

There is clearly a need for alternative testing technologies, but care should be taken when selecting these methods if peak performance of your program is a goal.

What about drug testing?

For drug users the program accommodates scheduled and random drug testing methodologies such as:

· Drug patch testing or

· Urine drug testing and

· Saliva drug testing 

24/7 sobriety programs that adopt the core components of the program are changing the criminal justice system wherever they have been implemented, resulting in fewer people incarcerated and more people able to move out of the cycle of recidivism. Hallmarks of this award-winning program include:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of jail and prison populations
  • Enhancement of public safety, and
  • Enabling more offenders to change self-defeating behaviors and stop re-offending

The right software is a critical component

As interest grew in 24/7 sobriety programs, it became apparent that software necessary to manage a comprehensive testing program was a critical component that all programs would need. 24/7 Sobriety Systems offers a web-based program (view program brochure) with an engineered design that is user-friendly, scalable, access-layered, secure, fast and reliable. Our company mission is to be able to provide all of the 24/7 components to establish pilot programs and then assist jurisdictions in developing permanent programs with low-cost and participant-pay models.

As you review the information on our website you will see that we offer an alternative to traditional criminal justice systems. We can help you develop a 24/7 sobriety program for your city, county, region or state that:

  • emphasizes accountability, reduces recidivism, and improves public safety
  • supports DUI courts and drug courts
  • can be used in private and public treatment facilities that support the courts’ efforts
  • saves criminal justice dollars and tax dollars by using defender-pay models and by reducing jail and prison populations

We invite you to learn more about the 24/7 sobriety concept. Discover why 24/7 is growing in popularity, gaining worldwide attention, and making believers out of law enforcement experts who have seen the program in action.