Congressman Dusty Johnson highlighting state-wide sobriety program, pushing for a nationwide implementation

24 7 Sobriety ProgramRAPID CITY, S.D.– Since 2005, The 24/7 Sobriety program in South Dakota has given residents the chance to work towards complete sobriety rather than face jail time. By allowing for twice-daily testing, or other appointed details like an ankle monitor, offenders are allowed to continue going about their lives.

“They get to continue maintaining all of their relationships they have, the employment they have,” Program Director Lucas Oyler said. “They get to continue all of that stuff while they are waiting to go through the core process.”

Breath and urine analysis tests from the program’s origin through May are both over a 90 percent passing rate. However, the programs in the state are privately-funded, such as through payments made by offenders.

According to Director Oyle, places may not have the population sizes such as in Pennington or Minnehaha Counties.

But the new bill from Congressman Johnson hopes to help places get started in beginning and continuing to offer these resources, including the allotment of $250,000,000 in funding over a five-year period.

“There are a lot of states that have tried a similar thing, and are going through that process without that funding,” he said. “And that is just a commitment at the state level to make that happen. But I think in most places what they will find is once they get it going it will fund itself. And then it does not cost taxpayers any money. It is all offender-payed.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol-related offenses in 2010 costed the United States more than $200,000,000,000. If signed into law, the bill will allow communities nationwide to take a new approach towards rehabilitating repeat offenders.

“Usually that is all it takes, is a little reminder that this is not what you want, this is not where you want to go,” he said. “And people flip around and hold themselves accountable ultimately.”

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