Alcohol use, particularly among those in the criminal justice system, imposes tremendous costs on individuals and society. In traditional community supervision models, sanctions for violations-if applied at all-often occur only after fairly seriou offenses and may not be imposed until weeks or months after the precipitating offense. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that punishment certainty and celerity create a stronger deterrent to illegal activity than punishment severity. South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Project (hereafter, 24/7) applied this concept of swift and certain sanctions for alcohol violation initially to repeat drunk driving offenders and eventually to other alcohol-involved offenders. The program requires participants to submit to breathalyzer tests twice per day or to wear continuous alcohol monitoring bracelets. Those testing positive or missing a test face an immediate, but brief, jail term (typically a night or two). More than 25,000 South Dakotans have participated in 24/7 since 2005. RAND's NIAAA-funded evaluation provides evidence that the program reduced county-level arrests for repeat drunk driving by 12%, arrests for domestic violence by 9%, and crashes among males aged 18-40 by 4% (Kilmer et al., 2013). Even though 24/7 was recently added to the list of impaired driving countermeasures eligible for federal traffic safety funds (""""""""MAP-21""""""""), rigorous scientific evidence is still needed to ascertain how well the program works outside of South Dakota. This R21 starts with an evaluation of its replication in a state-North Dakota-that is similar to South Dakota in terms of the geography, density and magnitude of its alcohol problem, but where post- implementation data on DUI arrests and motor vehicle fatalities call into question the effectiveness of 24/7. Our central hypothesis is that, if the program is successfully replicated, rates of public harms arising from alcohol misuse, such as alcohol-related traffic accidents, DUI, and alcohol-related violence, would be significantly lower than without the program as we found in South Dakota. Our unprecedented access to data and stakeholders combined with quasi- experimental methods provide a unique opportunity to examine this important issue (ND's Attorney General has already made data available to RAND and supports our independent evaluation of their 24/7 program). The extent to which South Dakota's program can be successfully replicated in another state will provide timely information about whether this program can serve as a national alcohol control model.

Public Health Relevance

South Dakota's innovative 24/7 Sobriety Project reduces heavy alcohol use among alcohol-involved offenders, and evidence now shows that when counties adopt the program they see large reductions in arrests for repeat drunk driving and domestic violence. This R21 evaluates its replication in a state-North Dakota-that is similar in terms of geography, density and alcohol consumption, but where post-implementation data call into question its effectiveness. The extent to which South Dakota's 24/7 program can work in a similar state will provide timely and important information about whether this program has potential to evolve into a national alcohol control model.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Biomedical Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Bloss, Gregory
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Rand Corporation
Santa Monica
United States
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