Contact: Louisa Tavlas
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 23, 2022 — Today, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Burgess Owens (R-UT), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jose Luis Correa (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced the Supporting Opportunities to Build Everyday Responsibility Act of 2022 (the SOBER Act). The bill would provide funding for “24/7 Sobriety” programs, which have been shown to reduce crime and incarceration attributable to alcohol and drugs. The Niskanen Center is proud to have worked with the sponsors in developing this critical legislation.
“Measured by their impact on public safety, few interventions have a track record of success that can match 24/7 Sobriety,” says Greg Newburn, Niskanen’s director of criminal justice. “We are grateful to Representative Johnson and the bipartisan cosponsors of the SOBER Act, which will save countless lives,” Newburn adds.
“South Dakota has been a strong leader on combating alcohol-related offenses for years – it’s time to take this successful program national – that’s what the SOBER Act does. If we can invest in the root cause of the issue, our state, local, and federal government will not only save money in the long run, we will save lives,” said Representative Johnson. “I’m grateful to local law enforcement for staying engaged and innovative on this important issue that plagues so many communities.”
A recent report found that crimes attributable to alcohol and drugs cost the United States more than $120 billion annually. Substance abuse also contributes to mass incarceration. More than one in five state prisoners met the criteria for alcohol use disorder in the year before prison admission. A 2016 survey found that one in four federal prisoners and nearly one in three state prisoners reported drinking alcohol at the time of their offense.
The SOBER Act would allocate $250 million to states over five years to create, sustain, and expand 24/7 Sobriety programs and collect data to assess their impact on crime, recidivism, and incarceration. The bill’s total appropriation over five years represents about 0.2 percent of the per year cost of crime attributable to substance abuse.
In addition to the Niskanen Center, the SOBER Act is endorsed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2015 to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.
Photo credit: iStock