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Alcohol-Sniffing Anklet in the Spotlight This Week at Nashville Conference

Media Type: Press Release

Tennessee one of 46 states using 24/7 monitors to ease jail overcrowding

NASHVILLE, TN—When the 2009 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities convenes in Nashville this Sunday, 2,000 highway safety professionals will be evaluating one of the fastest-growing technologies in the fight against drunk driving: An alcohol-sensing ankle bracelet that actually tests your sweat to see if you’ve been drinking.

Currently in use in 46 states, including programs in Davidson, Sumner, Cheatham and Rutherford counties, the technology is known as SCRAM, for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor. The system includes an anklet that is worn around the clock, testing offenders every 30 minutes to ensure that drunk drivers and other alcohol-triggered offenders are in compliance with court-ordered sobriety.

SCRAM, as well as a number of other technologies aimed at improving highway safety, will be on exhibit this week at the 2009 Lifesavers Conference, running March 29–April 1 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Alcohol and Jail Overcrowding: The Tennessee Picture

Available to the corrections industry since 2003, SCRAM is seeing rapid growth in many parts of the country where budget-strapped counties are looking for cost-effective alternatives to overpopulated jails. According to numbers reported by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), alcohol-fueled offenders occupy a disproportionate amount of the criminal justice system, clogging court dockets and filling overcrowded jail and prison facilities across the country. The BJS reports that nearly 40 percent of all offenders, whether they’re in prison, jail or on probation, were using alcohol at the time of their offense. And 18 percent of those on probation each year are there for DUI offenses. “Drunk driving is the foremost substance abuse crime in the U.S.,” says Lou Sugo, vice president of marketing for Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which manufactures and markets the SCRAM System. According to The Century Council, Tennessee has 27,000 new DUI arrests each year, and 65 percent of the state’s alcohol-related fatalities involve drivers with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher, which is nearly twice the legal limit. “Recidivism rates are astounding for alcohol offenders, and the root cause is the alcohol abuse,” says Sugo.

In 2008, the Pew Center on the States released One in 100: Behind Bars in the U.S. in 2008, a report that addresses the extraordinary costs of incarceration that are paralyzing state and county jurisdictions across the country. “It has become economically essential for counties to turn to technology in order to manage the costs of incarceration while also effectively managing and monitoring these offenders,” says Sugo. In Davidson County, the sheriff’s department estimates that the overburdened criminal justice system is costing taxpayers $88,000—each day— housing offenders awaiting trial for longer and longer periods due to full court dockets.

According to Sugo, the vast majority of electronic monitoring programs across the country operate on the offender-pay model, where the offenders pay all or a significant portion of the daily fee, alleviating taxpayers and struggling counties of the burden. “At $62 per day per inmate, monitoring just 100 alcohol-involved inmates with SCRAM for six months while they await adjudication of their case would save Davidson County alone $1.1 million a year,” says Sugo. “The cost savings are immediate and substantial.” To-date,SCRAM has monitored more than 91,000 offenders nationwide.

About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures SCRAM®, the world’s only Continuous Alcohol Monitoring system, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption.SCRAM fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing courts and community corrections agencies with the ability to continuously monitor alcohol offenders, increase offender accountability and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 104 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.

More than 2000 attendees at the 2009 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities. The exhibit hall will feature SCRAM, an alcohol-sniffing ankle bracelet that actually samples an offender’s perspiration, 24/7, in 
order to measure for alcohol consumption. A number of other technologies designed to improve highway safety will also be on exhibit.

Exhibit Hall Hours:
Sunday March 29th 
5:00–7:00 p.m. (Opening Reception)
Monday March 30th 7:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tuesday March 31st 7:45 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
2800 Opryland Drive

On-site SCRAM Media Relations Contact
Jenn Mill • (303) 931-8142

Available for Interviews/Footage

Stephen K. Talpins, former National Policy Director for MADD and a former DUI Prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Currently the Chairman andCEO of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime and Vice President of Industry Relations for AMS

Terry Fain, Eastern Region Director, AMS

Representatives from the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities and attendees at the conference

Please call our Media Relations staff in advance so that we can facilitate Press Badges for entrance to the exhibit hall and coordinate interviews with attendees at the conference.

B-Roll/Additional Information
In addition to footage that can be shot at the conference, B-Roll footage in BETA format will be available on-site from the media relations staff.