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Courts in Northern VA Look to Technology to get Tough on Drunk Drivers

Media Type: Press Release

Booze-Sniffing Ankle Bracelets Monitor DUI, Domestic Violence Offenders

LEESBURG, VA—Courts in Northern Virginia now have a chance to join programs in 44 other states by adopting the latest fashion in high-tech law enforcement: An ankle bracelet that continuously monitors an offender’s sweat for alcohol consumption.

The technology, called SCRAM® (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), is a high-tech ankle bracelet that automatically samples a subject’s perspiration every 30 minutes, 24/7, in order to detect alcohol consumption. A local company, Leesburg-based Virginia Alcohol Monitoring (VAM), has brought the technology to Fairfax and Loudon counties, as well as the cities of Alexandria and Arlington, where the courts are evaluating the program. The availability of SCRAM in Northern Virginia means local courts now have the option to utilize a system that has monitored more than 60,000 offenders in 1,600 jurisdictions throughout the U.S., including programs throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The technology is used to monitor DUI, domestic violence, drug offenders and family court participants around-the-clock to ensure compliance with court-ordered sobriety.

Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS), which manufactures and markets SCRAM throughout the U.S., 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 significant risk for local communities,” says Don White, vice president of Field Operations for AMS. “BecauseSCRAM monitors high-risk offenders continuously throughout their court-mandated sentences, it offers an unprecedented level of accountability. Offenders can no longer attempt to drink around testing schedules, like they can with random testing methods.”

According to Virginia Alcohol Monitoring president Alex Kras, effectively monitoring offenders for alcohol consumption 24/7 means the courts can finally begin to tackle the alcohol abuse problem and help stop the cycle of drinking and re-offending. “Courts, probation officers, attorneys and treatment providers see its value, as well as the five-year track record of success in other parts of the country, and they’re responding very positively,” says Kras. “Judges are looking for reliable ways to effectively monitor compliance with court-ordered sobriety and to increase public safety. Continuous Alcohol Monitoring is the first technology that can do just that for these alcohol offenders.”

Alcohol and Crime: The Virginia Perspective

According to The Century Council, which publishes drunken driving arrest and conviction data, there are more than 25,000 DUI arrests each year in Virginia. Following conviction, all offenders receive a mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation to determine the nature and extent of their addiction. Treatment is mandatory for high BAC and repeat offenders, and all offenders are required to attend alcohol education or treatment as recommended by the assessment.

“SCRAM monitoring is very effective in combination with treatment programs,” says White. “If the offenders are staying sober for an extended period of time because SCRAM is making them accountable for their actions, then treatment programs have a much greater chance for long-term success.”

About Virginia Alcohol Monitoring 
Established in January 2008, Virginia Alcohol Monitoring (VAM) provides criminal justice programs with technology-based solutions to the management of alcohol-involved offenders. An official SCRAM Authorized Service Provider, VAM services courts in Fairfax and Loudon counties, as well as Alexandria City and Arlington City. VAM has offices in Leesburg and Fairfax, Virginia.

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. Since its launch to the marketplace in 2003, SCRAM has monitored over 58,000 offenders and is now in use in 45 states. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 98 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.