After a year of leasing electronic monitoring equipment in the hopes of deterring people from repeat offenses, the program has gone so well that Community Corrections is taking the leap to purchase equipment outright to continue the service.
Last March, Community Corrections leased GPS ankle units and Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) ankle units from SCRAM Systems as a means to help people remain compliant, whether while awaiting their day in court or as part of their sentencing. Coordinator David Stevens said the program has proven beneficial.
The CAM unit is a breathalyzer that gets strapped to the ankle, and it administers 48 tests a day — one every 30 minutes — based on the insensible perspiration of ethanol vapors through the skin. The continuous nature of the testing means people cannot beat the test like many do when they have to go in for a standard breath test. Thanks to years of research, dozens of independent studies and a number of court cases, the CAM readings have been determined to have a miniscule margin of error and are admissible in court. The bracelets have been found to provide an incentive for many wearers, and if they find that a wearer is still drinking, they know some deeper substance abuse help is needed.
The CAM bracelets also have a house arrest feature that sets a boundary for the wearer. For higher-risk offenders, the GPS bracelet will drop a pin every minute indicating the wearer’s location, and it can be programmed to allow for home, workplace, and a specific route to and from work, for example. The location reports are then consolidated, and any out-of-boundary marks are noted. A vibration or an audible tone can be sent to the unit remotely to warn the wearer.