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Local Courts Using Sweat-Sniffing Anklets to Monitor Problem Drinkers

Media Type: Press Release

Worcester, Wicomico Drug Courts Monitoring Offenders 24/7 for Alcohol

OCEAN CITY, MD – Courts in Worcester and Wicomico counties are getting tough on the area’s drug and juvenile offenders by utilizing a high-tech, alcohol-sniffing ankle bracelet that monitors offenders 24/7 for alcohol consumption.

Known as SCRAM (for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), the anklets, worn 24 hours a day, actually sample an offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes in order to ensure compliance with court-ordered sobriety. The system is already in use in over 1,800 courts in 46 states, including programs in Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Carroll and Talbot counties, predominantly on DUI offenders. The system is designed for long-term monitoring of alcohol-involved offenders, including drunk drivers, domestic violence offenders, juvenile offenders and drug offenders identified as having an issue with alcohol.

Both Worcester and Wicomico are using SCRAM in their drug court programs as a tool to support court-ordered treatment and as an alternative to incarceration. On average, Maryland spends $72 per day to house inmates in state prison and $85 per day in county jails. “At a cost of $12 per day for each ankle bracelet, counties are seeing an extraordinary savings,” says Steve Kenny, president of Ocean Answer, the company manages the SCRAMprogram for courts in the area. “They can maintain employment, stay with their children, receive treatment—all things that contribute to improved long-term outcomes for people trying to stay sober.”

Alcohol and Crime: The Maryland Picture

According to The Century Council, a nonprofit group that tracks and reports DUI-related statistics, Maryland arrests more than 23,000 people each year for drunk driving, and nearly one-third of those are considered “hardcore,” with BAC levels that are 0.15 or abovetwice the legal limit in the state. And according to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), on average 40 percent of all convicted drunk drivers are repeat offenders.

Beyond drunk driving, the BJS also reports that in 75 percent of all reported cases of domestic violence, the offender is drunk at the time of the offense. “These are serious issues for people with serious drinking problems. The bottom line is that if you can keep them sober, you can keep them from re-offending. It’s that simple,” says Kenny.

SCRAM was introduced to the criminal justice market in April of 2003. To-date the system has conducted 207 million alcohol tests on just under 85,000 offenders.

About Ocean Answer, Ltd.
Established in 1933, Ocean Answer is the exclusive provider of SCRAMtechnology to courts in Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset, Caroline and Dorcester counties in Maryland. Ocean Answer employees 16 people and is a privately funded company headquartered in Ocean City.

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