The next time she meets a menacing husband, 3rd District Judge Leslie Lewis plans to give him a bracelet.

Lewis will launch a pilot program that puts electronic ankle bracelets on abusive husbands and boyfriends who won't stay away from the women they have terrorized.The bracelets will likely be used in cases where a man has repeatedly violated protective orders requiring him to stay away from a woman.

If he is wearing a bracelet, both the woman and the police are notified when the man approaches her home.

The 90-day program is effective immediately, making five bracelets available to Utah judges. "We're starting now, as soon as we get a perpetrator," said Rep. Steve Barth, D-Salt Lake City. "Any judge that wants to do this can do it."

"I will be looking for candidates immediately," Lewis said. "Most judges see a number of people each month who would be appropriate candidates for this."

It works this way: BCI, the company selling the bracelets, puts an electronic box in the woman's home. If the man gets within 500 feet of the home, a loud alarm in the box goes off. A similar alarm is sent to BCI's monitoring center in Indiana within 45 seconds.

The monitoring center automatically notifies the police by computer.

A box is also placed in the man's home. If he is not at home during the hours he is required to be, another alarm sounds.

Utah is the ninth state to try the program. "There are 22 men across the country who have these on their ankles. So Utah has a chance to be in the foreground here," Barth said.

He will sponsor legislation that would create a statewide, permanent program. The cost will be paid entirely by the husbands and boyfriends, he said. They will be required to pay $8 a day for each day they wear the bracelet.

The program will be administered by the state court administrator's office.

Judges need to learn more about the program and decide among themselves when they will use the bracelets. "I think this will be received with enthusiasm," Lewis said.

She is inclined to use the bracelets during parole for men who have already been convicted and sentenced for abuse. But some courts use the bracelet as soon as protective orders are violated, and before a trial on the matter, said Kathy Fulda, BCI spokesperson.

The bracelets don't guarantee a woman's protection, Fulda stressed.

"There's nothing that will prevent a man from cutting the bracelet off," she said. If he does, it may be several hours before the monitoring center discovers that. During that time, he could go to a woman's home undetected.

But if he comes to the house with the bracelet, the electronic box will automatically record any conversation in the home. The system also documents each time the protective order is violated.

The record and the tapes can be used against the man in court. "This way, we will eliminate the `he said, she said' problem," Barth said.

"This doesn't help you when you go to the mall, the library or when you pick up your kid at school. But at least it gives you a little more security in your home," said Cheryll May, spokeswoman for the court administrator's office.

"This isn't a panacea for a problem that's been with us for a very long time. But it's a step in the right direction," Lewis said.