The Conservatives have announced plans to keep violent drinkers off the booze by fitting them with digital alcohol-sensing bracelets of the sort famously modelled by actress Lindsay Lohan after a drink-driving incident in 2007.
The tags, worn in a similar way to the bracelets which monitored an offenders whereabouts, automatically test the perspiration on the skin every thirty minutes for the presence of alcohol in sweat. If it detects the wearer has had a drink, the authorities are called, and the perpetrator could face an £80 fine, or even time in prison.
This new system, which aims to help rehabilitate offenders by keeping them off alcohol but allowing them to remain in work or to continue their lives will be targeted at those who commit violent crime when drunk, or drink drive. It will not be given to fully blown alcoholics, who will be given proper treatment. A police spokesman said it was hoped they would hopefully break “the cycle of alcohol-related crime”.
The new “sobriety orders” are being promised in the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election, but have already been trialled in certain London boroughs, parts of the Midlands, and the North East. They have been used extensively in the United States, where celebrity offenders including actress and model Lindsay Lohan have been forced to sport them out after alcohol-related offences.
The programme will not come cheap, and is estimated to cost some £15 million for 500 offenders a year, reports Sky News. Regardless, its proponents claim it cuts re-offending by up to 14 percent and will represent a saving compared to the cost of alcohol-related crime, and jailing offenders.
The bracelets, which are manufactured by an American company are not fault-proof, as a number of products have been shown to give a false positive, leading to a visit to the tag-wearer from the controlling authority. A trial in America showed eating a particular kind of yeasty bread with a high raisin content triggered the alarm, as do perfumes with alcohol and spray-tans. Excess perspiration from exercise does not apparently cause trouble, so reforming tag-wearers can freely hit the gym as part of starting a life without alcohol.