I've written about creative punishments before, and Florida is implementing what appears to be a useful program requiring DUI convicts to install breath-alcohol recognition devices in their cars that prevent them from driving while intoxicated.

The penalty will be imposed on drivers convicted of multiple DUIs, as well as first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level of 0.20 percent or more or with a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense. ...

Offenders will pick up the tab for the device: $75 for installation and $67.50 for monthly monitoring and calibration of the machine.

Apparently many states have similar programs -- which is great -- but I'm not too keen on federal involvement in what appears to be a purely local matter.

All 50 states are required by a 2000 federal law to have similar programs in place or risk losing some of their highway construction money.

I particularly like the fact that the offender has to foot the bill himself. I don't know how effective the programs are, but since the state isn't paying for it I'm not too concerned.

I think a similar principle could be used to craft punishments for other crimes. For instance, people convicted of violent sexual assault could be castrated. If that's too grusome to mandate, perhaps allow lighter prison sentences for offenders willing to accept alternative punishments that are cheaper for society, and more effective in preventing recidivism.

Some may argue that such an approach to justice could create a slipperly slope leading towards Saddam-style torture, but I don't think that would be a large concern as long as the right to a public trial-by-jury is preserved.



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