Under the program, individuals who are awaiting trials or hearings for alcohol-related misdemeanors would be released from jail provided they agree to a once- or twice-a-day sobriety test. Judges may also order the individuals participate in the program after adjudication.
Jackson Representative Keith Gingery says that South Dakota piloted the 24/7 Sobriety Program. He says when a group of legislators went to Rapid City to see the program first hand, they saw a line of people waiting for their turn at an intoximeter.
“They’d have a hundred people lined up, and they would crank through them in twenty minutes. And, you know, while they were standing there, one guy did blow hot, and so they had him sit, and he was taken before the judge later that day,” says Gingery.
Gingery says that the misdemeanors could include DUIs, public intoxication, and alcohol-related vandalism or domestic violence. He says the program will open up space in jail, along with other benefits.
“The part I think that everyone’s going to like,” he says, “is that it really doesn’t cost us any money. There’s a few start-up costs, but the governor has enough money in his budget for some of those start-up costs.”
Gingery estimates that individuals will pay $1-$2 per day to be on the program.