Scottish Government consider “Lindsay Lohan tags” for abusive parents


ABUSIVE parents will be tagged with Lindsay Lohan-style alcohol bracelets to protect children under new plans being considered by the Scottish Government.

The tamper-proof “sobriety tag” has been trialled south of the border to tackle the number of parents with drink problems as well as offenders involved in alcohol-fuelled crime.

They work by providing authorities with real-time alerts if someone consumes alcohol and can lead to vulnerable youngsters being taken into care unless parents get their drinking in check.


Actress Lohan had to wear a similar bracelet after breaking her probation rules
Actress Lohan had to wear a similar bracelet after breaking her probation rules (pic: EpicFlame)


The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is now exploring the costs of introducing the scheme to Scotland to help 93,000 children living with parents who abuse alcohol.

The SCRAMx bracelets are already used in the US to monitor people convicted of drink-driving.

Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan was famously forced to wear one of the devices in 2010 after she breached the terms of her probation.

The tags work like a breathalyser for the skin by checking every 30 minutes for “transdermal” traces of ethanol – the molecule present in alcoholic drinks.

It transmits the findings to a remote location where police or social services are able to determine whether the wearer has been drinking.

The London pilot carried out over the last six months was pioneered by Judge Nicholas Crichton, who established the city’s first Family Drug and Alcohol Court.

The court tries to limit the number of children who end up in care by providing intensive therapy and assistance to parents to tackle their addiction.



Mr Crichton said: “We had a mother who wore [the bracelet] for three months with no alerts.

“She had been a heavy drinker beforehand but she wanted to prove herself and get her daughter back, and she did.

“I liken it to Weight Watchers – knowing you have to come in every fortnight and go on the scales, that keeps you motivated and keeps you honest.”

Research is already under way at the Scottish VRU to assess the viability of rolling out a sobriety tagging programme to monitor violent offenders convicted of alcohol -related crime.

Studies have found half the prisoners in Scotland’s jails were drunk at the time of committing an offence, while 70% of assaults presenting at A&E are alcohol -related.

The Scottish Government confirmed they were interested in rolling out the devices.

A spokeswoman said: “We will follow the work being undertaken in London with interest and will also continue to work closely with partners including the VRU on existing measures to make our streets safer and end Scotland’s heavy drinking culture, as well as bringing forward our plans for minimum unit pricing.”