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Media Type: Press Release

Stay Home, Stay Sober: Officials to Wear, Test Next Generation Alcohol Anklets in Austin

AUSTIN, TX – When the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) hosts its 2010 Winter Training Institute at the Hilton Austin next week, corrections professionals and judges from throughout Texas and across the U.S. will be wearing and testing the next generation in alcohol monitors: A single anklet that lets courts monitor offenders 24/7 for alcohol as well as monitor their location through House Arrest.

The first dual-function system of its kind, the technology, called SCRAMx® (for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), includes an anklet that samples perspiration every 30 minutes, 24/7, in order to measure for alcohol consumption. Known as “iCAM” (for Intensive Continuous Alcohol Monitoring), the latest release of the system also lets courts and probation implement House Arrest monitoring at their discretion, allowing officials to increase or decrease the level of supervision of offenders at any time, remotely, with a single bracelet. SCRAMx will debut at the national APPAconference, running January 31st through February 2nd. Corrections professionals and judges attending the show will be wearing and testing the SCRAMx System during the conference.

“Before SCRAMx, only the highest risk offenders were sentenced to both house arrest and alcohol monitoring,” says Terry Fain, director of sales for the Western U.S. for Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which manufactures and markets the SCRAM product line. According to AMS, that scenario either required that offenders wear two types of bracelets at twice the cost, or that courts rely on outdated home-based breath testing systems that only periodically test for alcohol. “Judges often sentence high-risk offenders to house arrest knowing full well that offenders are going to be sitting at home drinking, not dealing with the root cause of their criminality, which is the alcohol abuse,” adds Fain. “The criminal justice system asked for both types of monitoring in one product, and that’s why we’ve delivered one.”

Nationwide, SCRAM, which launched to the corrections market in April of 2003, has monitored 124,000 offenders in 48 states. According to Fain, theSCRAMx system will continue to be used predominantly to monitor offenders only for alcohol. He says the company estimates that up to 20 percent of offenders monitored each day with SCRAMx will also be monitored with the House Arrest component of the system. “That allows courts and agencies to have contingency management with the click of a button—increase or decrease supervision requirements with each offender as they need,” says Fain. SCRAMx has been in live subject testing since 2009, and AMS began a limited roll out of the technology last week. Jurisdictions in Texas are expected to be some of the earliest programs to employ the iCAM technology.

SCRAMx costs average $12 per day nationwide, a cost that is usually paid for in part or in whole by the offender. The company will not charge a higher daily fee for the House Arrest monitoring. According to AMS, the cost savings of utilizing technologies like SCRAM for even small jurisdictions are often in the millions of dollars each year, and the house arrest capabilities mean an even larger pool of offenders will be eligible for that type of community supervision. “Texas averages $44 a day to house offenders in a county jail,” says Fain. “Even if the county pays for the monitoring, supervising just 100 offenders in their house for 90 days with SCRAMx instead of warehousing them in the local jail can save even a small county nearly $1 million a year,” he adds.

Alcohol Monitoring in Texas, Travis County

In 2008 Texas became a leader in the use of SCRAM alcohol monitoring technology, surpassing Michigan as the state with the most clients monitored. Today Texas has monitored more than 11,000 offenders statewide, including nearly 600 in Travis County. The anklets are used on repeat DUI offenders, as well as domestic violence offenders, underage drinkers and as a tool in family court when custody issues may be dependent on a parent’s ability to prove sobriety. Currently, Texas monitors more than 1,500 offenders each day with SCRAM, representing 15 percent of the 10,500 offenders monitored each day throughout the U.S.

In 2007, citing exorbitant expenditures to build jails and prisons in Texas, with little corresponding improvement in recidivism rates or overcrowding, the Texas legislature approved a paradigm shift in the management of offenders, including the expansion of drug treatment and diversion programs that include alternative monitoring technologies such as SCRAM. The goal is to decrease spending and prison population growth rates, as well as recidivism, which accounts for nearly” 40 percent of those convicted each year for drunk driving”:, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to retired Texas District Court Judge Vickers Cunningham, who first began to use SCRAM on high-risk offenders in his court in 2003, the SCRAM System’s continuous testing protocol not only helped him to better manage offenders sentenced to supervision in the community, but it began to change people’s lives. “It’s easy to lock people up and throw away the key. But all you have to do is look at the repeat offender statistics to know that just wasn’t working,” says Cunningham, who now works for Dallas-based Recovery Healthcare, which provides the SCRAM System for courts in 60 Texas counties. “What I quickly began to find with alcohol-addicted offenders is that, when you effectively remove alcohol from the equation 24/7, they begin to become productive members of the community. They pay taxes, they work and they support their families. It changes lives.”

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 105 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.

*******************AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS*****************


Larry Vanderwoude, Owner, Recovery Healthcare Corporation
Recovery Healthcare manages SCRAM programs for courts in 60 Texas counties. They are the largest provider of continuous alcohol monitoring technology in the u>S.

*The Honorable Vickers Cunningham, retired Texas District Court Judge and Principle, Recovery Healthcare Corporation *
Judge Cunningham was an early adopter of SCRAM technology, implementing it into his court in Dallas County in 2003.

Executives from the American Probation and Parole Association

AMS Spokespeople

– Lou Sugo, Vice President of Marketing – Terry Fain, Director of Sales for the Western U.S. – John Hennessey, Director of Strategic Accounts – Matthew Mitchell, Southwest Regional Manager


The Honorable David Hodges (retired), Texas Center for the Judiciary
The Honorable Elisabeth A. Earle, County Court at Law No. 7, Travis County, TX


Sunday January 31st, 7:30–9:30 pm, opening reception
Monday February 1st, 10:00 am–6:30 pm
Tuesday February 2nd, 9:00–11:00 am

Hilton Austin, Salon C, D, E, 500 East Fourth Street, 800 236 1592

TERRY FAIN, 303-917-6216 OR JOHN HENNESSEY, 815-342-4469