DENVER—Colorado-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems has signed Oriana House, an Ohio-based chemical dependency and community corrections service provider, to a contract for the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor™ (SCRAM™)—the first alcohol testing system that monitors subjects around the clock for alcohol consumption.
The program, which launched last March and is currently in 9 states across the U.S., is the first in a large-scale treatment facility in Ohio. Designed for offenders who require long-term alcohol monitoring, the SCRAM System uses an all-new testing method—transdermal alcohol testing—in order to measure an offender’s alcohol consumption around the clock. “This is an entirely new way for both treatment providers and the judicial system to monitor alcohol offenders,” says Bernie Rochford, executive vice president of Oriana House. “Because alcohol metabolizes quickly, it’s extremely difficult using conventional testing methods to ensure we’re not missing a drinking event. With SCRAM, clients will know that we’re watching them, around the clock. That alone is likely to trigger a change in behavior.”
Offenders at Oriana House spend a minimum of 45 days in the program, with a maximum sentence determined by the court. As with most monitoring programs, the offenders are responsible for the cost of the SCRAM System, including a refundable deposit, an installation fee, and a daily monitoring fee. Akron Municipal Court referred their first offender for SCRAM last week, and Oriana House anticipates rapid expansion to other jurisdictions over the next several months. “Our short-term objective is to successfully treat these offenders for alcohol abuse and addiction, while also focusing on relieving jail and prison overcrowding and successfully re-integrating these offenders into the community,” says Rochford. “SCRAM gives us a level of reliability and our clients a level of accountability that will go a long way toward meeting those objectives.”
Mike Iiams, chairman and CEO of Alcohol Monitoring Systems, says that’s precisely why SCRAM is so important for both treatment providers and the corrections community. “Recidivism rates are astounding across the country, and nothing to-date has made a dent in that problem,” says Iiams. “Research supports the need for successful treatment and reintegration, but until now, the technology to help professionals deal with the alcohol problem just didn’t exist. We needed to find a way to minimize the resources required for testing and supervision while maximizing accuracy and accountability.”
SCRAM is being marketed as the next-generation alcohol testing system, to be used in place of or in conjunction with technology such as ignition interlock, random testing programs, and home-arrest systems that incorporate an alcohol breath test component for DUI offenders. Critics say those programs, while necessary, have provided little guarantee that offenders are abstaining from alcohol, and long-term results show that recidivism rates among offenders who participate in those programs and those who don’t are equal. “SCRAM is generating a lot of interest in the criminal justice community,” says Joe Russo, program manager for the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, a program of the National Institute of Justice. “The appropriate application of this technology will provide a powerful and much needed tool to better manage DUI and other alcohol-related offenders in the community.”
Oriana House, Inc. is a private, nonprofit agency that assists people in overcoming chemical dependencies and provides multiple services, including treatment, education, employment and case management, for drug and alcohol offenders in Ohio who live in or are returning to the community.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures the world’s only non-invasive alcohol-detection system that automatically tests for alcohol every hour, 24 hours a day, regardless of the offender’s location. SCRAM—the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor—is the first alcohol testing technology to use transdermal analysis to determine an offender’s blood alcohol content. SCRAM fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing community corrections agencies and treatment organizations nationwide with the ability to classify DUI offenders and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems is a privately held company headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.