« Top Massachusetts court decides due process now demands heightened proof standard for sex offender classification | Main | "The Effect of Prison Sentence Length on Recidivism: Evidence from Random Judicial Assignment" »

December 13, 2015

Encouraging DUI alternative sentencing story from South Dakota

The AP this past week had this encouraging story about an alternative approach to drunk driving offenses headlined "States encouraged to mull South Dakota sobriety program." Here are excerpts:

Twice a day for three years, Chris Mexican has showed up at the county jail in Pierre to blow into a tube and prove he hasn't been drinking.  After several drunken driving convictions, it has allowed him to remain free and to become a better, more clearheaded father to his kids....

South Dakota's 24-7 sobriety program has helped curb drunken driving and domestic violence, and some incentives for states that adopt the model were included in the $305 billion transportation law that President Barack Obama signed [earlier this month].

The program offers those accused or convicted of an alcohol-related crime an alternative to jail.  The provision in the highway law, pushed by U.S. Sen. John Thune, creates an incentive grant totaling about $18 million over four years for states that implement the sobriety program.

It's akin to existing funds for states that have adopted seatbelt requirements or ignition interlock laws.  "This will give other states a chance to find out if it works as well," said U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, who was South Dakota governor when the program began.  The new transportation law also allows states that implement a 24-7 program to avoid a penalty that routes construction funds to highway safety.

An independent study released in 2013 by the RAND Corp., a nonprofit think tank, found that South Dakota's program cut the rate of repeat DUI arrests at the county level by 12 percent and domestic violence arrests by 9 percent in its first five years.  "These are large reductions when you consider that we're talking about the community level," said Beau Kilmer, who conducted the study and continues to research the program.

Experts say incentive grants are an effective way to encourage states.  "When it's a federal law, the word spreads and other communities that are looking for solutions find out about it, so they're much more likely to adopt it themselves," said safety advocate Joan Claybrook, a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief.

South Dakota started the practice in 2005.  Participants come to a site each morning and evening to blow into an alcohol breath test.  Those who live farther away or who have difficulty remaining sober wear alcohol-monitoring bracelets or have ignition interlock systems in their vehicles.  Over the past decade, nearly 40,000 people have participated in South Dakota's twice-daily program, compiling a pass rate of more than 99 percent.

North Dakota and Montana have started similar monitoring systems, and more states are running or planning pilot programs. South Dakota's attorney general, Marty Jackley, has also discussed the program with his counterparts in other states.  And West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said South Dakota's "very positive" results warrant examination by his state, where a program would require legislative support.

December 13, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink


Change cannot be felt at the gut level if smaller than 30%. Ten percent change seems about the size of normal year to year variation. More lawyer quackery, supported by left wing propaganda outlet, the Rand Corporation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 13, 2015 1:27:55 PM

Free from a sentence of life + cancer for blowing .0751 (what this really means is a thesis in its own). What are we becoming? I know, a nation of libtards and idiots!(sarcasm for the self-righteous dense and or the equivalent - lawyers).

Wait, I know. If we remove the reasoning of lawyers and the law, maybe the myth of American exceptionalism will have a chance of becoming reality, or at least a glint in our children's eyes.

Posted by: albeed | Dec 13, 2015 5:29:29 PM

Albeed. The make 99% of government policy decisions. They will never give up. And I know of no successful violent revolution. That includes the catastrophic consequences of our own lawyer dumbass started American Revolution. These frickin' assholes started a war over a 2% tax bite of the GDP. Assholes.

Had they been properly hanged and early, slavery would have ended in 1833 and not 1863. It would have ended by the passage of a statute affecting the entire British Empire, and not after killing 850,000. Then uber asshole lawyer, Mr. "Please, Don't Sue Your Neighbor," invents the draft, income taxes, and lawyer run oppressive government that is out of control, and takes over most of the GDP. We have yet to recover from these catastrophic lawyer decisions.

Jefferson. Lawyer.
Madison. Lawyer.
Lincoln. Lawyer.
Stalin. Bank robber and lawyer client.
Ghandi. Lawyer dumbass caused the deaths of tens of millions by his revolution.
Mao - Law student.
Castro. Lawyer.
Saddam Hussein - 3L

Those are big time lawyer catastrophes.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 13, 2015 8:09:48 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB