Prisoner leavers at risk of reoffending will be banned from drinking alcohol, it has been announced.
The new laws – which are the first of their kind – came into effect on Wednesday 17 November.
Upon leaving prison, offenders at risk of reoffending will be given a licence condition that requires them to go “teetotal” for up to a year or have their drinking levels monitored.
To enforce the new rules, serious and prolific offenders will also be tagged with devices that monitor alcohol levels in their sweat – known as “sobriety tags”.
The new tags will notify the Probation Service when alcohol is detected, serving as an incentive to cut out damaging habits.
In a pilot scheme, the MoJ found that offenders stayed sober on 97 per cent of the days they were wearing the tag.
Commenting on the new rules, Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab MP said: “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.”
According to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), alcohol and illegal drug use play a major part in criminal activity. The latest statistics suggest that alcohol is involved in almost four in 10 (39 per cent) violent offences in the UK, while around two in 10 (20 per cent) offenders supervised by the Probation Service are classed as having an “alcohol problem”.
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