Date Published

08/07/2022

Alcohol monitoring is a new form of electronic tagging to rehabilitate people who’ve committed alcohol-driven crimes, under an ambitious £180m plan to expand the use of electronic monitoring to cut crime. We’re supporting the successful roll-out of this scheme across England and Wales through the delivery of a smart technology solution that records information from alcoholic monitoring devices.

Electronic monitoring is a common alternative to a prison sentence and is mandated by court orders. It can also be offered to people who are eligible for early release from a custodial sentence. At Capita we work with criminal justice partners to provide electronic monitoring (also known as tagging), on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).  

Government figures have identified alcohol as one of the key factors behind crime, with around 39% of violent offences committed by a person who has consumed alcohol. To combat this, a new form of electronic tagging, called alcohol monitoring, has been introduced. The goal of this initiative is to help people who have committed crimes under the influence of alcohol to rehabilitate into society and reduce rates of reoffending. 

Administering the scheme and supporting people

In October 2020 we supported the initial roll-out of the new alcohol monitoring initiative in Wales which featured sobriety ankle tags designed by AMS SCRAMnet. The tags take a skin reading of the wearer every 30 minutes and can detect whether a person has consumed alcohol, as well as any attempted device removal or obstructions to readings. 

People fitted with the tags have ongoing access to support through Capita’s expert advisors during the period they are monitored, to complete the requirements of their court order. Our operational support officers have continuous, often daily, contact with people, and serve as a first point of call when they need help. They are trained to deal with all situations and enquiries, and we provide a 24 hour, 365-day monitoring service to around 17,000 people at any one time.

Following on from the successful roll-out in Wales, we’re now delivering the alcohol monitoring initiative across England. The scheme was launched in March 2021 and by May that year we had 407 active orders with a 97% success rate of subjects remaining compliant and abstaining from alcohol during the monitoring period. 

Applying our expertise in technology and operational efficiency

At the time the alcohol monitoring scheme was first rolled out, no solution was in place for recording the data which was manually inputted on a spreadsheet. We developed automation software and put in place new processes which meant the data could be captured on a case management system to ensure greater accuracy and efficiency. This was introduced to coincide with the roll-out of alcohol monitoring in England. Further work to enhance the solution is now underway, to increase its efficiency. It will be able to raise queries on missing order information with courts, automate breach reports and support field officers to create and schedule tasks with people being monitored.

Making a difference

Since the tags were launched 3,121 offenders have been monitored, with more than 3,000 staying sober.   By 2025 it is estimated that 12,000 offenders will have their drinking monitored by tags across England and Wales.

The device can be worn alongside a curfew tag and the technology used allows us to monitor compliance to the terms and conditions that have been set. The alcohol monitoring tags have a 90-day battery life, are partially water resistant and can store events for up to 30 days. An individual does not need to have a fixed abode to get the device fitted, and Capita has been able to work with probation teams to carry out the equipment installation process.  

Capita has built close partnerships with probation teams to facilitate compliance with the alcohol monitoring requirements and ensure that information and risks can be shared in a timely manner. 

The service has now been rolled out to offenders being released from prison - the national rollout started in Wales in August 2021 and the scheme will be applied in England in the summer 2022.

Offenders will either have a license condition (Alcohol Monitoring on License) which requires them to abstain from alcohol for up to a year or have their drinking levels monitored because their risk of reoffending increases after alcohol consumption – it’s expected to have a significant impact on prison leavers’ drinking habits.

Since October 2020 we’ve managed over 1,000 active orders, which are a combination of community sentences and alcohol monitoring on license.

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