ANAHEIM, CA—When the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) hosts its 15th Annual Drug Court Training Conference in Anaheim this week, drug court judges from throughout California and across the U.S. will be wearing and testing an alcohol-sniffing anklet that actually tests your sweat to see if you’ve been drinking.
The 24/7 system is called SCRAM (for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), and it’s already monitored more than 4,700 DUI, domestic violence and other alcohol-involved offenders in 21 California counties, including more than 2,000 in Orange and Los Angeles counties combined. The technology includes an alcohol-specific ankle bracelet that samples perspiration—every 30 minutes—in order to determine whether subjects are compliant with court-ordered sobriety. The U.S. Federal Pretrial Services Agency of Central California has been conducting a pilot of SCRAM since March of this year, and San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Riverside and Ventura counties also utilize the technology to monitor alcohol offenders. SCRAM has monitored over 100,000 offenders in 46 states since 2003.
SCRAM, as well as a number of other high-tech tools designed to help courts manage and monitor offenders, will be on exhibit this week at the NADCP 15th Annual Drug Court Training Conference, running June 10–12 at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. The SCRAM bracelet will be worn and tested by a number of the more than 2,500 judges and drug court professionals who will be attending the show.
Alcohol and Crime: Paralyzing the State’s Criminal Justice System
With California’s corrections system facing mandatory reductions in the wake of staggering budgetary shortfalls, alternative monitoring technologies are taking center stage. According to Stephen Talpins, CEO of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime, alcohol-involved offenders represent a disproportionate percentage of the criminal justice population. “Drunk driving gets the bulk of the attention, and it’s the number one cause of arrest in the U.S. But the reality is that 36 percent of offenders under state or federal supervision were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their offense,” says Talpins, former national policy director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a former DUI prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Florida. “Offenders who misuse alcohol are literally paralyzing the criminal justice system, and we can no longer afford to simply debate the issue,” he adds. NPAMC is a public-private partnership, comprised of more than 50 organizations, working to re-engineer the way the justice system manages offenders who misuse alcohol.
According to the Pew Center on the States and their recent report, One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections, California averages $134.84 per day, per offender in the state’s prisons. “Even if the state completely absorbs the cost of high-tech alternative sentencing programs, the savings to taxpayers are unbelievable,” says Mike Iiams, president and CEO of Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which manufactures and marketsSCRAM nationwide. According to AMS, the vast majority of offenders sentenced to community supervision are responsible for all or the significant portion of the cost of their monitoring, alleviating taxpayers and the justice system of the burden. The average cost of the system is $12 per day.
According to The Century Council, which compiles DUI/DWI data state-by-state, more than 200,000 people are arrested for drunk driving in California each year. Nearly 1,200 are killed each year in alcohol-related accidents, and 77 percent of those involved repeat drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, nearly twice the legal limit. “The core issue is alcohol abuse and addiction, and once jurisdictions begin to deal with that issue, community safety improves while the costs to deal with the problem decrease substantially,” says Talpins, who is also the vice president of Industry Relations for AMS.
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.
WHO: The National Association of Drug Court Professionals 15th Annual Drug Court Training Conference
WHAT: Judges from around the country will be attending the conference. Throughout the show, attendees will volunteer to test SCRAM, an alcohol ankle bracelet that automatically samples a subject’s sweat every 30 minutes in order to measure for alcohol consumption. SCRAM has monitored more than 4,700 offenders in California to-date.
Available for Interviews
Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer, County of San Diego
San Diego County has recently launched a comprehensive offender management program for felony DUI and domestic violence offenders that includes SCRAM monitoring.
Judge David Hodges (retired), Texas Center for the Judiciary
Judge Hodges is involved with the training and promotion of DWI courts throughout Texas, and the program model includes SCRAM.
Jon Ugval, Director of Operations for House Arrest Services, Detroit, MI
House Arrest Services is one of the largest private probation companies in the U.S. and manages one of the two largest SCRAM programs in the country for offenders throughout the state of Michigan.
Volunteer judges who demo SCRAM at the conference, as well as other conference attendees who are currently using SCRAM as a component in their offender management programs
Mike Iiams, president and CEO
Terry Fain, director of the Western U.S.
Stephen K. Talpins, vice president of Industry Relations, former national policy director for MADD and former DUI prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, FL
EXHIBIT HALL HOURS
Wednesday, June 10th, 2:007:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 11th, 7:30 a.m.Noon and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 12th, 7:30 a.m.– 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Marquis Ballroom, 700 Convention Way, Anaheim