New alcohol tracker makes a difference for DUI offenders, saves tax dollars

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By Jillian Deam

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 21, 2014) -- A Marion County judge says a new alcohol tracker is making a difference.  The device helps keep DUI offenders sober, at no cost to taxpayers.

It’s called “RADAR,” or Real Time Alcohol Monitoring Detection and Recognition.  Offenders are given random Breathalyzer tests throughout the day.  The results are sent in real-time to correction officers.  The program is used as either a condition for release, or part of a sentence.

Right now, more than 200 people are using RADAR in Marion County.  Superior Court Judge Bill Nelson says it's not only stopping people from drinking—it’s saving on jail space and tax dollars.

“It’s offender funded, so it's not costing the taxpayer anything. If I throw someone in jail, it'll cost the county about $52 a day; the offenders are paying for this up to $12 dollars a day,” he said.

“Some of these people need to go to jail, and they will, but the vast majority of these offenders do not need to be incarcerated,” he said.

The company that created RADAR, Track Group, says Marion County courts helped lead the way in bringing this program to other areas.

"We had a pilot program, it was successful, and now we've opened it up to all the courts,” Indianapolis Executive Director of Track Group Brian Barton said.

"The criminal justice system has had to rely on technology due to lack of jail space," he said.