Some states have implemented alcohol monitoring programs aimed at reducing drunk driving and domestic violence, according to the Associated Press.
Offenders must prove twice daily that they have not been drinking. Staying sober keeps them out of jail.
South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana have implemented alcohol monitoring programs, and at least five additional states are running or planning pilot programs.
South Dakota began its program in 2005. People accused or convicted of an alcohol-related crime are offered participation in the program as an alternative to jail.
Participants come to a testing site every each morning and evening to blow into a Breathalyzer. If they are unable to get to a testing site that frequently, or if they have trouble staying sober between tests, they wear alcohol-monitoring bracelets or have ignition interlock systems installed in their car.
Those who fail the test are immediately jailed. The first offense leads to 12 hours of jail time, while the second offense leaves them in jail for 24 hours. If they fail a third test, they stay in jail until a judge decides the next step.
South Dakota once had the nation's highest DUI arrest rate, the article notes. Jail overcrowding was a serious problem. A study by the RAND Corporation found that in the first five years, South Dakota's program reduced the rate of repeat DUI arrests at the county level by 12 percent, and domestic violence offenses by 9 percent.
Because participants pay for the tests (usually between $1 to $3 per test), the cost to states is minimal, the article notes. In the past 10 years, more than 37,000 people in South Dakota have participated in the program. The pass rate has been more than 99 percent.