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Local Courts Get Tough on Drunk Drivers

Media Type: Press Release

DES MOINES—Courts within the 5th Judicial District in central Iowa have joined programs in 44 other states by adopting the latest fashion in high-tech law enforcement: An ankle bracelet that continuously monitors offenders for alcohol consumption.

Polk County and several surrounding counties are now using a technology called SCRAM® (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), a high-tech ankle bracelet that automatically samples a subject’s perspiration every 30 minutes, 24/7, in order to detect alcohol consumption. The SCRAM programs in these counties are being managed by Monitoring Services LLC, a local provider that manages the SCRAM Program nine counties in Iowa, including programs in Des Moines. Already in use in more than 1,650 courts across the U.S., SCRAM is beginning to see use throughout Iowa by continuously monitoring DUI, domestic violence and other alcohol-involved offenders.

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.”

Alcohol and Crime: The Iowa Perspective

According to The Century Council, which publishes drunken driving arrest and conviction data, there are more than 12,000 OWI arrests every year in Iowa. Within the state, there are enhanced penalties for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 and above, and treatment is mandatory for all offenders. The state also advocates the offender-pay model.

“Offenders pay the cost of their SCRAM monitoring, which is determined by a sliding scale based on an offender’s income and the number of people in the household that he or she is supporting,” explains Krista Mattson, program manager for Monitoring Services. She adds that offenders in Polk and its surrounding counties typically pay between $5 and $12 per day for SCRAM. “We can reduce the rates the offender pays without having outside funding as a service we offer to the courts in our area,” she explains.

Currently, the SCRAM programs within Polk and surrounding counties within the 5th Judicial District are the first within the state. “Monitoring Services is striving to become the leading provider of SCRAM programs throughout Iowa,” says Mattson.

About Monitoring Services, LLC
Monitoring Services, LLC, was founded in September of 2006 as a SCRAMAuthorized Service Provider. The Des Moines-based company provides SCRAM monitoring service to the courts, probation, attorneys and other individuals in Polk, Dallas, Story, Madison, Marion, Jasper, Warren, Mitchell and Cerro Gordo counties.

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