TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A program designed to make sure DUI offenders stay sober 24 hours a day, 7 days a week could be coming to the capital city. The program launched almost a decade ago in South Dakota, has decreased the states rate of alcohol related traffic fatalities by almost 50%.
24/7 Sobriety Monitoring requires that DUI offenders or even domestic violence offenders remain sober in order to decrease crime and keep roadways safe. The former Deputy State Attorney General of South Dakota, Bill Mickelson, created the program in 2005. It focuses on drug or alchohol testing on a daily basis, paired with immediate consequences for failure.
24/7 monitoring can provide an alternative to incarceration for offenders by serving as a condition of bond or pre-trial release. Currently South Dakota, North Dakota, as well as Montana use the program. Last year, Jacksonville became the first city in Florida to put a pilot program in place.
The Public Safety Coordinating Council is now looking at how this type of monitoring can be implemented here in Leon County. North Florida Safety Council Board member, Electra Bustle says the program produces results, "we're seeing reductions in DUI arrests, not just convictions which is fairly significant. Even those who are applying it to sexual violence are seeing a reduction in domestic violence arrests, because I think most people would say people are making better choices when they're sober."
The board's next steps will include logistics of implementation, as well as designating areas that could serve as check in centers for offenders to receive testing. The board will meet again on December 1st.