What began as small scale trials have recently become a new government policy as the Dutch justice ministry requires alcohol-related offenders have to wear an Alcoholmeter. The ankle bracelet monitors both toxin levels and daily habits.
In 2017, police units in Rotterdam partnered with SCRAM Systems, a company that designed Alcoholmeters in the form of ankle bracelets. People convicted of criminal offenses under the influence of alcohol took part in a monitor trial study.
The 'Alcoholmeter' analyzes the wearer's sweat and sends the data from the bracelet to a central server at the Probation Service twice a day. Probation officers are then able to track the participant's behavior in addition to bi-weekly blood or urine tests.
Tony Rubino, a probation officer, said that 'clients are continuously aware of the fact that they have something that is measuring their alcohol consumption. That helps them to keep away from alcohol abuse.' Besides staying sober, the tracker anklet can also help offenders show how they've changed.
One mother who volunteered said that 'I have two young boys and had to show that I don't drink anymore...The alcohol anklet was an excellent opportunity for me to show that I do not drink 24/7.'
Small Scale Trials
Initial studies revealed that 71% of the volunteers stayed sober during the trial period, said the Ministry of Security and Justice. Almost 50% of them said they did not consume alcohol for at least three months after removing the anklet. In 2018, research was continued by Stichting Verslavingsreclassering GGZ (SVG), the Dutch Probation Service for addicted offenders for all three Probation Services in the whole country. Volunteers on alcohol ban chose to wear the Alcoholmeter instead of urine checks and were allowed to consume alcohol during the trial period.
91 volunteers wore the anklet device for 75 days. 33 took part in research conducted three months after they no longer wore the Alcoholmeter and was compared to a study with 75 other participants who didn't wear the device but had regular urine checks under a similar probation period.
Those who committed at least one criminal offense under the influence of alcohol may be given a suspended sentence with attached conditions of temporary alcohol ban, which can be accompanied by wearing an alcohol monitor.
Alcohol abuse oftentimes gets linked to certain violent crimes. The Dutch government has been taking targeted measures to reduce such criminal offenses. Alcohol ban and implementing the Alcoholmeter are just a few preventive measures for alcohol-related violence and other similar criminal acts. In the Netherlands, about 25% to 50% of violence is linked to abuse of alcohol.
Excessive consumption often results in the crimes of vandalism, street violence, football hooliganism, domestic violence, and night-time violence. Studies have even estimated that damage from alcohol abuse reaches up to $6.75 billion every year. In the United States and the United Kingdom, alcohol monitor trials have been successful.: 78% of individuals in the US and 92% in the UK completed similar trials without alcohol consumption. The Netherlands is hoping that they can share the same success as the previous trials.