Ankle Monitors Get a Grip on Drunk Drivers

New technology lets cash-strapped PDs free up jail space
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 11:41 AM CDT
A woman wearing an ankle monitor.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In the fight against drunk driving, cash-strapped municipalities are embracing cheaper penalties than the traditional—and expensive—jailhouse, and the ankle monitor has a high-tech addition: an alcohol sensor. Repeat offenders can skip probation and even rehab if they submit to sweat-analyzing remote surveillance. “We are at a point where no one could have even imagined 15 years ago,” one professor tells the Washington Post.

Just 2 years after star Tracy Jordan's real-life ankle apparatus became a plot point on 30 Rock, the Post finds the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor—or SCRAM—a moderate hit with users. “I'm not too embarrassed by it,” says one. “It keeps me from drinking, and it's like training wheels.” But privacy advocates are appalled. “The problem's not just Big Brother,” says one. “It's a lot of Little Brothers.”