MARTINEZ, CA—The Contra Costa County, California, Sheriff’s Department has selected Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) to provide 24/7 alcohol monitoring with home detention for the county’s electronic monitoring program. The county, which previously used home-based Sobrietor alcohol monitors from Colorado-based BI, Inc., began the switch to the continuous SCRAMx alcohol anklets in early June. SCRAMx (which stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is a system that samples perspiration every 30 minutes, 24/7, to ensure compliance with mandatory sobriety. The system also incorporates home detention or “house arrest” monitoring in the same anklet. Contra Costa County is utilizing both monitoring functions with the 65 units they’re using in the SCRAMx program.
According to Lou Sugo, vice president of Marketing for AMS, they are working closely with Contra Costa officials to integrate the system and make the transition both time- and cost-effective. “Corrections agencies are really scrambling to effectively manage growing offender populations in spite of unprecedented reductions in budgets and staffing,” says Sugo. SCRAMx provides a full-service support system that allows our local people to absorb a substantial amount of the time required to manage an EM program,” he says. The program is an offender-funded program, meaning the offenders pay all or a significant portion of the daily monitoring fee.
The SCRAMx technology has been in the spotlight recently, both in California and nationwide, thanks
to some high-profile, Hollywood offenders. But to the corrections professionals who deal with DUI and other alcohol-involved offenders every day, there is nothing trivial about the issues, which cost the U.S. more than $184 billion annually. “A sweat-sniffing ankle bracelet is technologically interesting and gets a lot of attention in the media,” says Stephen K. Talpins, president of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime (NPAMC). “But the root cause of the issues—alcohol abuse and addiction—are crippling criminal justice in terms of cost and community safety, and technologies are essential to help mitigate the epidemic,” he says.
According to AMS, SCRAMx has monitored just under 145,000 offenders since it was introduced to the marketplace in 2003. Nearly 12,000 offenders in 48 states are monitored by SCRAMx daily.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS) is the world’s largest provider of Continuous Alcohol Monitoring technology. AMS manufactures SCRAMx, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption and integrates home detention monitoring into a single anklet. SCRAMx 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. AMS employs 123 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.