Justice Courts add sweat-sniffing ankle bracelet to DUI Program
LAS VEGAS, NV—The Clark County Justice Court is moving forward with plans to begin use of a high-tech, alcohol-sniffing ankle bracelet as a tool to help manage and monitor the county’s high-risk, repeat drunk drivers.
The technology, called SCRAM®, the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, includes an ankle bracelet that offenders wear 24 × 7 in order to detect alcohol consumption. Termed Continuous Alcohol Monitoring, the system uses noninvasive transdermal analysis to automatically and continuously monitor the sweat of problem drinkers, enforcing compliance with court-ordered sobriety and enhancing treatment outcomes. Already in use in the Clark County Municipal Courts since 2006, the Justice will be adding the technology to the list of tools they’ll use on felony-level DUI offenders.
According to Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Cedric Kerns, the technology adds an important level of monitoring for offenders with alcohol abuse issues. “This is a great tool that helps us to quickly identify the problem offenders and catch them early in relapse,” says Kerns, who has been using SCRAM on some offenders in his court since 2006. Robert Jones, program manager for the North Las Vegas Municipal Court, agrees. “It’s a continuous level of supervision that allows the offender to stay involved in the things they need to do to be successful, yet helps us enhance community safety at the same time.” The program in the Clark County Justice Courts will focus use of the technology on the higher risk, felony-level DUI offenders. To date, about 150 offenders have been monitored in Nevada, predominantly through the Las Vegas and North Las Vegas municipal courts. While the technology has been available in Reno and its surrounding areas, those courts have yet to incorporate SCRAM into their alcohol management programs.
Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which manufactures and markets SCRAM, says that Continuous Alcohol Monitoring means that offenders can no longer drink around testing schedules and get away with it. “The repeat alcohol offender cycle isn’t just costly in terms of money, it’s also a high risk for local communities,” says Don White, vice president of Field Operations for AMS. “Because SCRAM monitors high-risk offenders continuously throughout their court-mandated sentences, it offers an unprecedented level of accountability. Once the bracelet is locked on an offender’s ankle, most think long and hard before drinking. It’s a powerful deterrent.” According to AMS, the technology is now in use in 41 states, including Nevada, and SCRAM has monitored nearly 40,000 offenders nationwide since it was launched to the corrections market in April 2003.
Alcohol and Crime: The Nevada Picture
According to The Century Council, which publishes state-by-state DUI arrest and conviction data, there are more than 12,000 DUI arrests every year in Nevada. The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that nearly 40 percent of those convicted each year of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
Aaron Fleisher, program coordinator for Total Court Services of Nevada, which manages the SCRAM Program throughout Clark County, says they expect to see a rapid expansion of the technology through the new Justice Court felony-level program. “This technology is ideal for the problems courts face in managing and rehabilitating the hard core, problem drinkers,” says Fleisher. “There’s nothing else like it.”
About Total Court Services of Nevada
Total Court Services Nevada is a Las Vegas-based company founded with the purpose of assisting probation officers and courts in reducing alcohol dependence, ensuring offender compliance with court orders and protecting the public. First launched in Indiana in 2005, Total Court Services delivers alcohol monitoring solutions to programs throughout Indiana, Florida and Nevada and is the exclusive provider of SCRAM technology in Clark County, Nevada.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures SCRAM®, the world’s only Continuous Alcohol Testing system that uses 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 52 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.