Programs of Interest

South Dakota Program – The Pioneer

South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety program was pioneered by former South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long [link to Experts & Comments page]. Special Attorney General Bill Mickelson assisted with development, implementation, and management of the project. More is available at this website about the SD Program or visit the SD Attorney General’s website.

Hawaii Program – HOPE for drug offenders

Initiated by Judge Steven Alm in 2004, HOPE (Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation and Enforcement aka Honest Opportunity Probation and Enforcement) is a pilot program aimed at reducing probation violations by drug offenders. Concerned with the heavy caseloads of probation officers who were often dealing with drug-possession offenders (or low-level criminal offenses impacted by drug-abuse issues), Judge Alm wanted a new approach that would stop the recidivist cycle and make a real difference.

Random testing model

  • The foundation of the HOPE program is a random drug-testing system. Defendants must call a hotline every weekday morning to find out if they are required to take a drug test later that day. An individual who comes in and then tests positive for drugs is arrested immediately. If a defendant fails to appear for testing, a warrant for their arrest is issued immediately. For both situations, a short jail sentence quickly follows, with jail time often increasing for those with subsequent violations. Repeat offenders may also be required to go into a drug treatment program.

Results have been positive

  • Early evaluation results done by researchers at Pepperdine University in 2008 showed the program to be very successful at reducing drug use and crime, even among the most difficult offenders (such as methamphetamine abusers and domestic violence offenders).
  • In December 2009, Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, identified HOPE as the most promising initiative that “…not only prevents recidivism, but also actively assists individuals to transition to productive lives.”

Other Programs of Interest

Based on the results of programs started in South Dakota and Hawaii to address recidivist alcohol and drug-related crime, other states and jurisdictions have begun to adopt their own programs. South Dakota’s neighboring states Montana and North Dakota have begun statewide 24/7 programs. Pilot programs are on-going in several other stated including Alaska and Missouri and planning and discussions are taking place in a host of other states, and in England and Australia.

Montana 24/7 Sobriety Pilot Program

The State of Montana announced its decision to create a pilot sobriety management program starting in May of 2010. The program was initiated in Lewis & Clark County (where state capitol Helena is located), and involves the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Montana Highway Patrol, and City and County Attorneys. In January, 2011, a bill (House Bill 106) to create a statewide 24/7 sobriety program was passed with support from both Democratic and Republican members of the Montana legislature. In late 2011 the statewide implementation of the 24/7 program was spearheaded by the Attorney General’s Office. As of the first part of 2014, there are programs in counties that represent more than 70% of the state’s population. Website

North Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Pilot Program

The North Dakota Legislature authorized the state’s Attorney General to establish a sobriety management program in one or more judicial districts in the state in 2007. The program began January 1, 2008 and was expanded in 2009, becoming a complete statewide program in 2010. In North Dakota, an offender is put on a program of twice-daily testing at the time of a second or subsequent DUI arrest. When warranted by special circumstances, some offenders may use remote electronic alcohol monitoring instead. Beyond DUI offenses, the program may also be required for other offenses where drugs and alcohol are part of the equation (such as domestic abuse). North Dakota’s early results show that 98% of individuals on the program successfully complete it — they are not drinking and driving.

Nebraska – Douglas County 24/7 Sobriety Program

In mid-summer 2014, Douglas County (Omaha) instituted a 24/7 program through their Department of Corrections.  After several months of getting familiar with the program, a commitment has been made to start to grow the program.

Alaska 24/7 Sobriety Pilot Program

In late summer 2014 Alaska initiated an eighteen month 24/7 Pilot Program. The program, funded by Department of Health and Social Services, allows the Courts, Department of Corrections and other State Agencies to enroll participants in the program. To date, a testing site exists in Anchorage with additional sites planned in Anchorage and throughout the state