Alcohol abstinence tag helps Dave get back on track

Dave* committed a violent offence after threatening a person in the street while drunk following a period in the grip of alcoholism.

The 53-year-old is one of 226 people who took part in a two-year pilot scheme run by a partnership including the Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners for Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire and the Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (HLNY CRC).

He was sentenced to a two-year Suspended Sentence Order for possession of a knife and affray. As part of the order, he was required to wear a tag which monitored his alcohol consumption for three months. During that period, he had to remain totally abstinent.

An initial report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) into the Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire (HLNY) Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) pilot was published yesterday. HLNY CRC managed the scheme with representation from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Dave said: “I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for the tag and for the support that probation gave me that I’d either be dead or in prison.

“After my father passed away my life went downhill and I hit rock bottom. My drinking got so bad that my partner threw me out, I ended up on the streets and was drinking anything I could get my hands on so I could block out the pain.

“I was drinking heavily, a bottle of whiskey a day.”

Dave managed to quit alcohol for three-months and successfully completed his period on tag. He is supervised by HLNY CRC’s Jihan Kirby, a probation case manager.

He said: “All of the staff that have supervised me at probation have been brilliant. When I’ve been down, rather than reach for the bottle, I’ve been able to speak to them.

“Probation has done me the world of good, they are always there for me and I cannot thank them enough.”

Dave now lives in a flat, has a job, and only ever drinks in moderation. He is nearing the end of his Suspended Sentence Order.

Jihan said: “Dave has made great strides. He has spoken powerfully about the positive impact that probation has had on his life and his words speak volumes. I am so proud of him.

“It wasn’t easy for him at the beginning. The tag gave him the ability to control his drinking, it gave him the break he needed.

“We were then able to work with him to give him the support he needed to make positive changes to his life.”

To read about the AAMR pilot please click this link.

*Dave is not the service user’s real name.