Booze ban for offenders introduced in Wales

By Dylan Davies   |   News editor   |
Wednesday 1st June 2022 1:19 pm
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The tag monitors alcohol levels in a person's sweat
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OFFENDERS in Wales a booze ban once they are released from prison as part of a ‘world-first’ move to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime.

A tag that detects alcohol in the wearer’s sweat is being introduced in Wales ahead of a national rollout next year in a bid to tackle alcohol-fuelled re-offending when people are released from prison.

For the first time, serious and prolific offenders will be tagged with devices which monitor alcohol levels in sweat from today, if their probation officer thinks they will be more likely to reoffend when drinking.

The tag will help probation officers keep a closer eye on offenders’ behaviour and support them to turn their backs on crime. It will also provide offenders with the incentive to break bad habits as breaching the ban could see them back in prison.

Alcohol plays a part in 39 per cent of all violent crime in the UK and roughly 20 per cent of offenders supervised by the Probation Service are classed as having an alcohol problem. Around 12,000 offenders will wear such a tag over the next three years.

Offenders with an alcohol ban on community sentences have stayed sober on 97 per cent of the days they were tagged and it is expected to have a significant impact on prison leavers’ drinking habits.

Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab MP said: “This innovative technology has been successful in policing community sentences with offenders complying over 97 percent of the time.

“Rolling the tags out further will help cut alcohol-fuelled crime, which causes untold misery for victims and lands society with a £21 billion bill each year.

“Offenders now have a clear choice. If they don’t work with probation staff to curb their drinking and change their ways, they face being sent back to jail.”

North Wales probation officer, Amy Ellis, said: “I think the tag is an excellent addition to the tools we have at our disposal to protect the public and support offenders to achieve positive changes to their lives.

“The tag will have a wonderful impact because when we ask offenders for whom we know alcohol is a risk factor what they are drinking they can tell us ‘nothing’. We might know that’s not true, but we can’t guess the scale of the problem.

“The tag forces people to be honest. That honesty opens-up conversations that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to have.”

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