Alcohol-monitoring bracelets a step closer

Published: Fri 16 Aug 2013 12:29 PM
Alcohol-monitoring bracelets a step closer
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says that Cabinet has given approval to change legislation which will allow the introduction of alcohol-monitoring bracelets for high-risk offenders and bailees in the community.
“Alcohol is a major driver of crime, and this is another tool to support Police and Corrections increase public safety and reduce reoffending,” says Mrs Tolley.
The ankle bracelets, which detect the presence of alcohol through the skin, will initially be fitted to 475 offenders and bailees per year who are considered at high risk of causing harm in the community.
A signal is sent to a central monitoring system, and if alcohol is detected then action will be taken against the offender, such as arrest or a breach charge being laid in court.
“Offenders need to be held to account if they breach their conditions,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Alcohol and drugs are a factor in the majority of crimes. A monitoring bracelet will act as a deterrent to high-risk offenders to stop them from drinking, making it less likely that they will commit more crimes.
“In some cases, rehabilitation programmes may be offered to help address alcohol or drug use.
“Advances in technology have allowed Corrections to introduce GPS tracking and Audio-Visual Links (AVL) between prisons and courts, and the Department will continue to search for new ideas to help us reach our target of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.”
Legislation will be introduced into the House later this year which allows Corrections and Police to carry out alcohol and drug testing on offenders and bailees who are subject to a court order or Parole Board condition prohibiting them from using alcohol and drugs.
While technology evolves to allow both alcohol and drug monitoring via ankle bracelets, limited drug testing will be done in private laboratories.
Final decisions on funding and the precise technology used will be made following a procurement process currently being carried out by Corrections for all electronic monitoring equipment.

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