BISMARK, ND—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has selected North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s 24/7 Sobriety Program as part of a nationwide study to evaluate the prevalence and impact of SCRAM continuous alcohol anklets. The 18-month study is focusing on best-practice SCRAM in an effort to help other agencies considering implementation of the technology.
North Dakota’s program, first approved by the legislature in 2007, authorizes the use of sobriety monitoring technology for all second time and subsequent DUI offenders. Patterned after South Dakota’s successful 24/7 Program for drunk drivers, North Dakota’s program has expanded the concept beyond drunk drivers, including domestic violence and other alcohol-fueled crimes in the program parameters. To-date 135 program participants have been monitored by SCRAM. Of those, 84 percent have been fully compliant. According to Matthew Mitchell, regional manager for Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which manufactures and markets SCRAMthroughout the U.S., the North Dakota program is currently monitoring about 30 offenders daily. Now that program implementation is statewide, Mitchell anticipates a ramp-up to full utilization of the program’s 100 SCRAM units over the next several months, once training is complete.
The NHTSA study is being conducted by” Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)”:http://www.pire.org/. According to PIRE, the group has just selected the final six programs for evaluation. In addition to the North Dakota 24/7 Program, NHTSA and PIRE selected: the City and County of Denver Electronic Monitoring Program; the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Jefferson County, Missouri; the Nebraska Supreme Court Office of Probation Administration; the New York 8th Judicial District Hybrid DWI Court; and Wisconsin Community Services (a SCRAM Service Provider). The studies are intended to provide best-practice models and give courts a better perspective on both the challenges and the potential program impact of 24/7 monitoring.
According to Mike Iiams, president and CEO of AMS, NHTSA’s interest in studying SCRAM programs is due in large part to the fact that it’s a relatively new technology that’s become mainstream for courts and probation departments. To-date, SCRAM has monitored 153,000 offenders in 48 states and monitors just under 12,000 every day across the U.S. “In the last five years since NHTSA’s first SCRAM study, the focus has shifted from asking, ‘Do they work?’ to ‘What’s the most effective way to use them?’” says Iiams.NHTSA conducted an early evaluation of the first generation of SCRAM back in 2005. Iiams adds that SCRAM’s lengthy track record for meeting judicial scrutiny was also a contributing factor for NHTSA’s focus on the SCRAMtechnology.
The third generation of the system, SCRAMx, was released in February of this year and integrates home detention (or “house arrest”) capabilities into the same anklet. While the NHTSA study will focus exclusively on alcohol-only testing, the North Dakota Department of Corrections has just launched a Pilot Program which will incorporate the dual-function alcohol and home detention monitoring with SCRAMx.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS) is the world’s largest provider of Continuous Alcohol Monitoring technology. AMS manufactures SCRAMx, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption and integrates home detention monitoring into a single anklet. SCRAMx 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. AMS employs 123 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.