Wayne County, MI – With nearly 2 million residents, Wayne County—comprising the Detroit metropolitan area—is the largest county in the state of Michigan and the 15th largest nationwide. In 2010, Wayne County had the most drinking and driving arrests (6,000+) and alcohol-related driving fatalities (60) of any county in Michigan. The county also operates the largest jail system in the state, with an average daily population of about 2,600 offenders.
The Wayne County Sheriffs’ Department first implemented a SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring program in October 2011 to closely monitor its highest-risk DUI offenders who are sentenced to remain sober. One year later, the program is one of the largest sheriff programs in the country, has a higher-than-average rate of compliant offenders and Sober Days, and is helping save taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
In addition to being an integral monitoring tool in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, SCRAM CAM has deep roots within the state of Michigan. In 2002, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) conducted BETA testing of the system before it officially launched to the market in April 2003, and MDOC became the first large-scale user of the system. Today, MDOC is the largest state-level SCRAM CAM program, monitoring nearly 1,267 offenders every day throughout the state. In total, since 2003 over 27,750 DUI and other alcohol-involved offenders have been monitored by SCRAM CAM in Michigan.
How is SCRAM CAM Being Used?
According to Wayne County officials, SCRAM CAM was implemented as a tougher sanction compared with the previous home-based alcohol testing systems, where offenders were required to blow into a breath test machine one or more times a day. The sheriff’s department also reports they’ve had reductions in staff time previously spent chasing false positives or offenders who missed tests. And the 48 times per day testing protocol guarantees offenders can’t drink after their last test of the day, then sleep it off before their next required test.
The Wayne County Sheriff is utilizing both the alcohol and the RF/house arrest functionality of SCRAM CAM. The program is administered by Detroit-based House Arrest Services (HAS), a multi-state provider of electronic monitoring services and one of the country’s largest SCRAM CAM providers. HAS works closely with the Sheriff’s office to provide violation data and uphold its admissibility in court.
On any given day in Wayne County, 99.6% of offenders in the Sheriff’s program have a Sober Day. That means that 99.6% of the area’s high-risk DUI offenders are sober, compliant, in the community, and employable.
In addition to enhancing community safety, SCRAM CAM is also producing significant taxpayer savings. While the cost of SCRAM monitoring averages $8/day, by comparison, The Center for Economic and Policy Research reports that the average daily incarceration cost within the county jail is $71.23. This means that in its inaugural year monitoring 485 offenders in Wayne County, SCRAM CAM has saved taxpayers more than $2.3 million in incarceration costs.