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article imageUS-style electronic sobriety test piloted for London criminals

By Kev Hedges     Feb 11, 2012 in Health
London - Criminals committing drink-related crime in London are to be offered an electronic tagging option as an alternative to prison. The sobriety test is based on an idea copied from South Dakota.
The Ministry of Justice in the UK has given the scheme the all clear and will be aimed at keeping offenders sober on a 24/7 basis. The electronic tags are to be used to monitor alcohol levels in the blood. It will be the first time the technology has been used in the UK and those supporting the scheme, like the Mayor of London, say if offenders do not curb their drinking they will receive a short prison sentence.
The concept however has not been without its critics, both in the US and UK. Those opposed to the idea say the tagging is an ineffective and draconian measure to curb alcohol-related problems in the capital but Deputy Mayor of London, Kit Malthouse says the idea can be adapted successfully for use in the capital:
We've got a major problem and our primary concern is to remove the alcohol from the picture, using the bracelets [electronic tags] participants will be tested every half an hour to make sure they haven't been drinking. The area of most concern is around alcohol-related violence and we'd like to see the people involved forced to be sober for a while.
But also in the home in domestic violence cases, where alcohol plays a very big part, we'd like to remove the alcohol and hopefully remove the violence as well. This is for people who have been convicted of a crime, not for alcoholics. We think this is a cheaper, more effective disposal than sending them to prison.
In South Dakota drinkers are given a self-funded daily breath test to verify their sobriety, failure can lead to instant gaol, reports the BBC.
The Metropolitan police force in London believes 9,000 offenders in the capital would be suitable to be tagged under the scheme.
The South Dakota 24/7 sobriety programme was launched in 2005 and tests and monitors alcohol and drug use with infractions in place for offenders.
More about electronic tagging, Alcoholism, Criminals, Ministry of Justice, sobriety test
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