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Use of Sobriety Bracelets to be increased

For the first time, sobriety ankle tags are to be worn by offenders leaving prison in England to either control their drinking or enforce alcohol bans.

Nearly 2,000 offenders whose criminal behaviour has been linked to drinking will be given the ankle bracelets at random points within a two-year period. That will be either as a condition of their probation or as part of their licence on release from jail. Should they subsequently breach their licence, they could be returned to prison.

Until this point sobriety ankle tags have only been used on people handed community sentences, but the scheme will now be extended to those leaving jail. Ministry of Justice figures show that offenders on sobriety tags abide by their alcohol restrictions 97 per cent of the time.

There are currently about 900 offenders on the tags, which will more than double to 1,900 by 2024.

The tags sample the offenders’ sweat every 30 minutes and alerts the probation service if alcohol is detected. Unlike sobriety tags for those on probation, ex-prisoners could be allowed a modest level of alcohol.

The Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “We’ve seen that alcohol tags work. This is a big step forward using the latest technology to cut the link between alcohol abuse and the crime, and make our streets safer.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, alcoholic drinks are a factor in approximately 39 per cent of violent crime matters. The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm is estimated to be £21.5 billion a year.


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