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Common Sense in War on Drunks

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The Queens courts have taken a high-tech approach in the war on crime that will cost taxpayers little or nothing and likely will save lives. The Queens Treatment Court now uses an ankle bracelet that can tell the court with a high degree of accuracy if a person is abusing alcohol.

The device made headlines last month when it was reported that actress Lindsay Lohan was given the choice of wearing the monitoring device or going to prison. The device is called the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring bracelet. Defendants typically wear the device for at least 90 days.

It relies on good old-fashioned fear. The device is a last chance to stay out of jail. If it shows that a defendant has been drinking in excess, he or she goes to jail. So far more than 330 defendants in New York City have been ordered to strap on the SCRAM monitor. The defendants, many of whom have jobs, are required to pay for the device.

This approach to the serious problem of drunken driving makes sense. Putting the drunk driver in Rikers Island is bad for the defendant, his or her family and society. Incarceration for drug or alcohol abuse is both costly and ineffective. The jailed defendants often lose their jobs making the transition to a law-abiding life when they are released far more difficult.

We trust the Treatment Court will track the effectiveness of the SCRAM bracelet to make certain it lives up to society’s expectations.

Queens Delegation Shows Courage

It happened quietly and almost no one noticed that the Democrat-run state Assembly voted last week to approve legislation that will more than double the number of charter schools in the state. This will hopefully help the state secure hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

The Queens delegation played a major role in getting this legislation passed, including Assembly members Catherine Nolan and Rory Lancman, David Weprin and Andrew Hevesi. The money is part of President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program. The money is part of President Obama’s Race to the Top program.

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