Swift, Certain, and Fair Punishment -- 24/7 Sobriety and Hope: Creative Approaches to Alcohol- and Illicit Drug-Using Offenders

60 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2014 Last revised: 19 Mar 2015

Date Written: March 18, 2015

Abstract

Local and state government officials in South Dakota and Hawaii have implemented a creative way to address some of the problems stemming from alcohol and drug use. The South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety program and Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) project seek to deal with those problems by combining an old criminological theory with modern technological devices. Criminologists, both old and contemporary, have believed that the certainty and celerity of punishment are more effective components of deterrence than is the severity of a penalty. In fact, anyone who has been a parent will tell you that the swift and certain use of a mild or moderate punishment is far more likely to deter unwanted conduct than the threat of an infrequently used severe punishment imposed at some point down the road. South Dakota and Hawaii have developed innovative programs to deal with substance use and noncompliance with the conditions of supervision. Both programs address this problem. Starting from the proposition that certainty and celerity are more important than severity when measuring the effectiveness of punishment and using a rigorous alcohol-testing regimen, South Dakota has made strides toward the reduction of problem drinking and the attendant harms that it can produce. Hawaii has independently developed and followed a similar approach to the use of drugs and crime, subjecting certain offenders to rigorous, random drug urinalysis punished by the certain imposition of a modest stint in jail for those who fail the required tests. Those creative approaches are worth serious consideration as an effective and humane means of addressing the grim problems that alcohol- and drug-abusers pose for victims and society.

Keywords: 24/7 Sobriety, Hawaii HOPE Program, Swift, Certain & Faior Punishment, alcohol abuse, drug use

Suggested Citation

Larkin, Paul James, Swift, Certain, and Fair Punishment -- 24/7 Sobriety and Hope: Creative Approaches to Alcohol- and Illicit Drug-Using Offenders (March 18, 2015). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 105, 2015, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2465644

Paul James Larkin (Contact Author)

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States
202-608-6190 (Phone)

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