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Riverside cracks down on DUI offenders

June 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Riverside County authorities are now using a new monitoring program to keep track of their DUI offenders. Like most areas authorities in Riverside County have battled DUI offenses for along time. Countless DUI checkpoints are enforced in the area every year.

But now officials are turning to technology for some help, specifically a new ankle-mounted electronic monitor. It is a device that Sheila Keslow has been wearing since January. She was ordered to do so by a judge after being convicted of driving under the influence.

"I wished I wasn't wearing it for so long. But by wearing it for a period of time it does give one's body a chance to get adjusted to having a clean body, no alcohol or abuse," said Keslow.

The ankle device tests sweat levels for alcohol. If you start drinking and the device reads .02 or above it is documented by a computer. If that happens it could mean that you are going back to jail.

"It has helped me and is a reminder. It does help because it is very easy to forget. It has helped me a lot," said Keslow.

At a news conference Wednesday morning the DA announced that Riverside County will be the first in the state to make the device part of mandatory sentencing. He says that criminals pay the bill and it comes to about $90 a week for the program.

"The cost to taxpayers is absolutely zero. That was a major criteria for me when we were first approached about this program," said District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

Pacheco says that 60 to 70 percent of DUI convicts reoffend. He hopes that the program will help lower that number.

"If you can get people off alcohol and cured in a sense, then they will not violate the law again and it will reduce the population of criminals in our county," said Pacheco.

The devices have tamper detection systems that reveal when an offender is trying to inhibit or remove them.

 

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