Reducing Risk on the Roads: Alcohol Monitoring Devices in Community Corrections

Reducing Risk on the Roads: Alcohol Monitoring Devices in Community Corrections

Alcohol consumption has been an ongoing issue with wide-ranging impacts on individuals, families, and society at large. One of the most severe consequences of alcohol misuse is the increase in alcohol-related accidents and deaths.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving accounted for approximately 11,654 fatalities in 2020, representing 30% of all traffic fatalities.

Source: Traffic Safety Facts Data 2020 (NHTSA)

To tackle this issue, the demand for alcohol monitoring devices has risen over the last few years. The development of advanced alcohol monitoring technologies has led to the creation of the current generation of alcohol monitoring systems that are more accurate, efficient, and user-friendly.

This article will examine the role of community corrections, innovative mitigation programs, as well as the different types of alcohol monitoring devices, their features, and how they work.


The Prevalence of Alcohol-related Fatalities

According to data from NHTSA, the states with the highest rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths per capita in 2020 were:

1. Montana – 45%
2. Rhode Island – 42%
3. Connecticut – 40%
4. Texas & Maine – 39%
5. Oregon – 38%

The states with the lowest rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths per capita in 2020 were:

1. Utah & Mississippi – 21%
2. Alaska – 22%
3. Delaware & Kansas – 23%
4. Georgia – 24%
5. Alabama – 25%

Source: Traffic Safety Facts Data 2020 (NHTSA)

How Community Corrections Plays a Key Role in Reducing Alcohol-related Recidivism

Community corrections play a critical role in addressing alcohol-related crimes through various approaches. Firstly, community corrections officers work with clients to help them access treatment and support for alcohol addiction. This may involve developing case plans that require participation in alcohol treatment programs, attending support groups, and maintaining sobriety.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Secondly, community corrections officers monitor compliance with court orders and conditions of probation and parole, which may include abstaining from alcohol or submitting to regular alcohol testing. They may also work closely with treatment providers and other community resources to ensure that clients receive the support they need to address the root causes of their behavior.

Lastly, community corrections agencies can create partnerships with law enforcement agencies and community organizations to prevent alcohol-related incidents by promoting public education campaigns, providing resources to victims and families affected by alcohol use, and supporting community-based initiatives like responsible beverage service programs.

Here’s How Alcohol Monitoring Devices Help Increase Positive Outcomes

The question is always floating around if alcohol monitoring systems, such as electronic monitoring bracelets and breathalyzers, help rehabilitate convicted alcohol-impaired drivers?

Since March of 2021, courts in England and Wales have been able to impose Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirements (AAMRs). This means that if someone is convicted of an alcohol-involved crime, they may have to avoid drinking alcohol for up to 120 days (about 4 months). They may also have to wear an alcohol monitoring device as part of their community sentence.

Robyn Malan de Merindol from the Policy, Communications and Analysis Group at Ministry of Justice reported: After one year on the alcohol monitoring devices, more than 97% of clients remained alcohol free.

According to this U.K. Government blog post, one client claims that the monitor saved his life. He said, alcohol abstinence gave him a foundation to engage with intervention and reduce his anxiety. This directly improved his emotional well-being and resulted in a less chaotic lifestyle.

The Impact of the 24/7 Sobriety Program: Success Rates and Benefits

The 24/7 Sobriety program, pioneered by former South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long, requires people who are accused of an alcohol-related crime to submit to twice-a-day breathalyzer tests or remote monitoring as a condition of pretrial bond or sentencing agreement.

Since the program started in 2005, more than 39,000 people (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) in South Dakota have participated and passed tests with a 98.8% success rate. Even better, if someone is awaiting trial or serving a suspended sentence, they can keep their job and be with their family if they stay away from alcohol.

Types of Alcohol Monitoring Devices

Electronic monitoring ankle bracelets detect alcohol in a person’s sweat and alert probation officers if the client has been drinking. This can help prevent clients from continuing to consume alcohol while under community supervision, which can reduce the risk of drunk driving and other alcohol-related incidents that can lead to fatalities.

Breathalyzers, on the other hand, are used to regularly test clients for alcohol consumption. Probation officers can conduct random breathalyzer tests or require clients to test at specific times. If a client fails a breathalyzer test, their probation officer can take appropriate action, such as increasing the level of supervision or imposing additional sanctions.

By using such alcohol detection devices, community corrections can help reduce the risk of alcohol-related deaths by holding individuals accountable for their behavior and providing them with the necessary support and resources.


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