Sober Days

Sober Days are More Than Sober Moments

Alcohol is the #1 drug of abuse for criminal offenders, and getting offenders sober has become the core focus of criminal justice programs throughout the country.

While drugs are relatively easy to identify in periodic testing, alcohol poses unique challenges for both corrections and treatment professionals. The body’s rapid metabolism of alcohol, the behavioral patterns of addicted offenders, and the fact that alcohol is legally obtained all make it difficult to assess, detect, and deter alcohol-involved offenders.

What is a Sober Day?

Sobriety vs. abstinence

Despite the importance of sobriety in the justice system, the difficulties of keeping tabs on alcohol-involved offenders means there are a wide variety of definitions for sobriety. While treatment professionals emphasize the importance of complete abstinence, the realities of long-term testing often mean that offenders are tested randomly, periodically, or not at all, with the hope that the chance they might get caught is enough of a deterrent to drinking. Unfortunately, some offenders are willing to take that chance.

Today, programs and technologies are proliferating that allow courts and treatment providers to cost-effectively require and enforce more than sober moments. They’re enforcing Sober Days.

Introducing Sober Days

A Sober Day can be defined as a 24-hour period in which a monitored individual has no confirmed consumption of alcohol and no confirmed attempt to tamper or circumvent testing in order to mask the consumption of alcohol. To be a true Sober Day, an offender must:

  • Be able to present evidence-based confirmation of sobriety for each 24-hour period
  • Be monitored transdermally (via perspiration/the skin) in order to meet the required test frequency
  • Be tested a minimum of once per hour per 24-hour period
  • Be tested automatically, with no requirement to participate in the testing


Download our Sober Days White Paper, The 5 Obstacles to Alcohol Monitoring: Proven Strategies for Overcoming the Challenges

Sober Days White Paper Cover

This 11‒page white paper will provide you with a more in-depth look at:

  • The challenge of high alcohol metabolism rates in alcohol addicted offenders
  • The behavioral patterns of addicted offenders
  • The balancing act between the cost of monitoring and the risks offenders pose
  • Funding challenges that make implementation of regular alcohol monitoring difficult
  • The obstacle of justifying a comprehensive alcohol program
  • Common program eligibility criteria
  • How to assess the effectiveness of your program using Sober Days

Download Sober Days White Paper