Officials: sobriety program a success24/7 sobriety program stats 564 tests since August 558 passed test 6 failed tests 2 people failed twice 14 participants since August 12 people on the program as of Friday Statistics provided by Stark County Sheriff’s Office
An alcohol monitoring program enacted in southwest North Dakota in August has been a success, officials say.
The “24/7” sobriety program requires participants to be tested for alcohol consumption twice a day said Stark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Fridrich.
Of the 564 tests that had been administered in Stark County from August until Friday, there were six failures, he said.
“I think the program works,” Fridrich said. “It does what they’re intending it to do.”
Stark County Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Ehlis agreed.
“We’ve had people that I feel have alcohol issues that have been able to maintain sobriety on it and I think that’s really good,” Ehlis said. “On the other hand, it has shown the people that aren’t going to be able maintain sobriety outside of jail. I think it’s a very useful tool.”
The program is being utilized because of the high number of alcohol-related offenses in the state, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in June.
“The 24/7 sobriety program was established to implement procedures as alternatives to incarceration for offenders charged with or convicted of DUIs, domestic violence, abuse or neglect of a child and basically other offenses in which alcohol or controlled substances were involved,” Fridrich said. “It’s an alternative to putting people in jail. Obviously if the offense is serious enough, I mean, and they deserve jail time, that’s what they’ll get.”
The program is intended to be used for individuals who have a history of alcohol problems.
“It’s the cases where there’s a chronic issue with alcohol,” Ehlis said.
She is not surprised by the four people who failed breath tests — two of which failed twice.
“There have been a couple though that honestly I didn’t think would be able to make it and they did really well, which is a real credit to them,” Ehlis said.
Fridrich said participants must pay $2 per day for the tests.
However, in some cases an alcohol monitoring bracelet is used, which costs the participant $50 plus $5 per day.
“Most of the people are put on the 24/7 program are presentence or pretrial,” Fridrich said. “Once they either go to trial or settle their court case, they either get removed from the program or they can get sentenced to a certain term on the program.”
It takes just a few minutes to test all of the participants and send them on their way, he added.
“If simply monitoring them is keeping them on the straight and narrow, that’s the ultimate goal,” Fridrich said.