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Alcohol Monitoring Systems Introducing New Generation of Remote Alcohol Monitoring Technology

Media Type: Press Release

DENVER—Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems is introducing SCRAM™, a new generation in alcohol testing at the APPA 27th Annual Training Institute, August 25-28, in Denver.

SCRAM–or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor™–is the first remote alcohol testing system designed to test subjects 24 hours a day without any active participation by the subject. Developed to function as one component in a comprehensive program of sanctions and rehabilitation for DUI/DWI and other alcohol offenders, the SCRAM System combines elements of current remote electronic monitoring programs with state-the-art tamper and detection technology to deliver what many see as the first real, affordable solution to the problem of alcohol offenders and recidivism.

“Only 10% of DUI/DWI offenders, regardless of the offense or history of recidivism, are actually sentenced to abstain from alcohol as a term of their probation,” say AMS founder Kirby Phillips. “That’s a direct result of the fact that–until now–there have been no effective, affordable solutions to the problem of remote, long-term alcohol monitoring.” Phillips, who developed and marketed the LifeLoc 3000 in the late 1980s, left in 1992 in search of a solution to the problem of effective remote monitoring.

Working with forensic researchers and scientists from around the US, Phillips founded AMS in 1997 and developed a system that utilizes the science of transcutaneous testing via a waterproof, tamperproof ankle bracelet. TheSCRAM Bracelet, weighing only 8 ounces, tests ethanol that migrates through the skin–a predictable result of alcohol consumption–in order to determine a subject’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). “A major advantage of the system is that subjects are unaware when testing takes place,” says AMS Commercial Vice President Glenn Tubb. “Subjects don’t have to travel to a testing center, and they can’t manipulate loopholes in testing schedules, ignore a request for testing, or even mask a drinking event, which is the fundamental problem with other long-term monitoring programs.”

The three-part system, which includes the bracelet, the SCRAM Modem, andSCRAMNET, requires the subject to place the SCRAM Modem in their home. Once each day, at a time pre-determined by the monitoring agency, the subject is required to be within range of the SCRAM Modem. Via radio frequency, the SCRAM Bracelet transmits all readings since the previous transmission to the modem, and via a secure, private phone line, the data is sent to SCRAMNET–the heart of the system. “Another flaw with current remote technology is the requirement for monitoring staff to remotely confirm each test or the need for costly equipment and IT support. The SCRAMNET is web-based and testing requires no supervision. An agency can customize, per offender, how they want to receive notification of alerts or tampers, and the easy-to-use application means subject test results can be accessed at any time,” says Tubb. “The cost-savings are enormous.”

The SCRAM Bracelet and SCRAM Modem can be leased or purchased, and the program can be set-up as offender-pay. The daily monitoring cost is the same whether a subject is tested once per day or as often as 48 times per day–depending on the requirements of the agency. “With other programs, your costs increase exponentially with the number of daily tests. But once-a-day testing leaves the window wide open for violations. It just doesn’t work in the real world,” says Phillips. “SCRAM tests continuously for the same daily monitoring fee.”

Final BETA Tests Run Through September

Final BETA testing began July 10th with Los Angeles Federal Pre-Trial Services, July 16th with House Arrest Services in Michigan, and July 17th with the Michigan Department of Corrections. “We’ve been extensively testing this technology for quite some time, from single, controlled drinking events to long-term monitoring,” says Phillips. “We’re extremely excited about the results. We’re seeing accurate, reliable, tamper-proof testing across the board.” This final phase will test full-system implementation into existing programs beginning with placement on officers and ending with installation on offenders. “We’re been working closely with our test program participants for several months, and we anticipate a smooth transition into this final phase of product development,” says Phillips.

Steve Bock, program manager for the Electronic Monitoring Center with the Michigan Department of Corrections, agrees. “We have been actively participating in the AMS BETA test program since mid-July. We’ve transitioned from installing the units on our own officers to installing the system on actual offenders. So far, everything is working according to specification.”

Alcohol Monitoring Systems will launch SCRAM in November. They are currently taking applications for agencies interested in a 30-day trial of the full system.

Founded in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems is a Denver-based company dedicated to the development of effective, affordable, real solutions to the problem of alcohol abuse, drunk driving, recidivism, and violent crime. The company offers SCRAM–the world’s only Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor–as one component of a comprehensive program of sanctions and treatment aimed at reducing the social and financial costs of alcohol abuse.