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A Second Missouri Service Provider Adds Continuous Alcohol Testing System to Help Courts Attack DWI Epidemic

Media Type: Press Release

DENVER—Midwest Collection Specialists, Inc. and Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS) are joining forces to provide courts in central and western Missouri with a new alcohol-testing system that continuously monitors high-risk DWI and other alcohol-fueled offenders. The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor® is being called the best tool to hit the electronic monitoring market in more than a decade.

The system, known as SCRAM®, first became available in April of this year through Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services (EMASS), which has been offering SCRAM to courts in St. Louis and surrounding counties since April 2004. The new contract with Midwest Collection Specialists meansSCRAM is now available in 47 counties throughout the state. AMS expects to make SCRAM available to courts in all 115 counties during 2005.

Designed specifically for application in long-term alcohol monitoring programs where alcohol abstinence is court-ordered, SCRAM includes a bracelet/modem combination like a home arrest system. But the difference is in the way the system actually tests for alcohol—a method called transdermal testing. The bracelet, worn around-the-clock, automatically samples an individual’s insensible perspiration in order to determine Blood Alcohol Concentration. According to Mike Iiams, chairman and CEO of AMS, this testing method gives courts an unprecedented level of assessment and accountability when dealing with DWI offenders. “Recidivism rates are astounding across the country, and nothing to date has made a dent in that problem,” says Iiams. Unlike most drugs, alcohol metabolizes very quickly, so conventional alcohol-testing programs are generally considered far less effective than drug testing when it comes to testing violators. “We needed to find a way to minimize the resources required for testing and supervision while maximizing accuracy and accountability. Automatically testing someone at least 24 times per day, every day, no matter where they’re at or what they’re doing, provides exactly that accountability,” states Iiams.

Since its launch in March of 2003, SCRAM has completed roughly 6 million transdermal alcohol tests on over 4,000 offenders across the country. In addition to SCRAM’s use in eastern Missouri, the product has seen rapid adoption in many of the largest jurisdictions in the country, including Orange County in California, Wayne County in Michigan, Marion County in Indiana, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties in Minnesota, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Dallas County in Texas.

According to Midwest Collection Specialists President Judy Pilley, the decision to add SCRAM as a court deliverable was an easy one to make. “SCRAM finally gives courts the opportunity to effectively deal with problematic DWI offenders and other alcohol-fueled offenses such as assault, domestic violence and even child custody issues. SCRAM delivers continuous offender accountability, plain and simple,” says Pilley. The staff at Midwest Collection Specialists believes that it is important to provide this type of technology to the criminal justice system since it can potentially have a great impact on both the individual and public safety. “Dealing with alcohol offenders usually includes a comprehensive program of sanctions, education and treatment. The more information available to assess individuals and detect whether they are in compliance with their court-ordered mandates, the better the chance they will successfully complete the supervision and become alcohol-free,” adds Pilley.

As with most monitoring programs, the offenders are responsible for the cost of the SCRAM System through a daily monitoring fee. There is no cost to a court or specific county. Pilley anticipates rapid expansion in the next several months throughout central and western Missouri. “Several courts have already ordered offenders to SCRAM, and we expect to have coverage in all 41 counties by mid-2005,” says Pilley. AMS anticipates that SCRAM will have monitored more than 6,000 offenders throughout the United States by the end of 2004.

About Midwest Collection Specialists
Established in 1995, Midwest Collection Specialists, Inc. (MCS) provides nationwide coverage for companies, organizations and governmental agencies requiring drug- and alcohol-testing services. Specializing in consultation, program management and legal services, MCS is a leading provider in the forensic and paternity-testing industry and has been awarded two state contracts with the Missouri Department of Corrections. The company is headquartered in Clinton, Missouri, and operates a field office in Sedalia. Plans are underway to open additional field offices in Kansas City and Springfield.

About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures the world’s only non-invasive alcohol-detection system that automatically tests a subject for alcohol every hour, 24 hours a day, regardless of location. SCRAMthe Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoris currently in use in more than 200 courts in 23 different states and is being used to classify DUI, domestic violence, and other alcohol-fueled offenders and assess their compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems is a privately held company headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.