ANAHEIM—When the APPA hosts its Winter Training Conference in Anaheim next weekend, one group of judges and probation officers will be under a particularly watchful eye. It’s not Big Brother, but according to corrections industry analysts, it may be the next best thing when it comes to dealing with repeat drunk drivers and other alcohol offenders.
The product, called the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM, is a next-generation alcohol ankle bracelet that actually samples a subject’s sweat—as often as once every 30 minutes—in order to measure Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The product will be exhibited at the APPAWinter Training Institute, running February 13-16th at the Hyatt Regency Orange County. Judges and Probation Officers from California will do live demos of the product, wearing the bracelet during conference events and viewing the results live at the SCRAM booth.
Already in limited use in California, including Orange County and both the San Francisco and San Diego areas, the product is generally considered a way to target problem drinkers who clog the system and endanger communities. “The repeat alcohol-offender cycle isn’t just costly in terms of money—it’s high-risk for the community, as well,” says Don White, spokesman for Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems, which manufactures and markets SCRAM. “Recidivism rates are astounding, and nothing to-date has made a dent in that problem.” California Department of Corrections statistics underscore that point. Of the convicted DWI offenders paroled from California prisons each year, more than 24 percent re-offend within one year; 38 percent re-offend in two. “We have to target the behavior—change the behavior—in order to prevent relapse into further criminal activity,” says Patricia Verwiel, MA, president and founder of Diversified Monitoring Services, a drug and alcohol treatment and electronic monitoring service provider in California. “SCRAM provides the highest level of accountability, but it also lets them hold down jobs, go to counseling, support their families—all things that have proven to be effective in supporting good treatment outcomes,” says Verwiel. The system costs range from $10 to $12 per day, a fee that is generally paid for by the offender.
On the market for just 18 months, SCRAM has already conducted over 10 million alcohol tests on 6,000 offenders since its launch to the corrections market in June of 2003. SCRAM is currently in use in 26 states and more than 230 courts and agencies across the U.S. White says the company expects rapid expansion in California for 2005, including SCRAM Programs that focus on repeat DUI offenders, domestic violence offenders, and offender reentry and diversion programs. “California is an innovator when it comes to addressing drug and alcohol problems in the court system,” says White.
The SCRAM System
The SCRAM System includes an ankle bracelet/modem combination, similar to a home arrest system. But instead of monitoring an offender’s location, the ankle bracelet tests using a method called Transdermal Analysis in order to measure BAC. At least once each day, the offender is required to be within 30 feet of a modem, placed in their home or at their place of work. The bracelet uploads the test data to the modem, which in turn sends the results to a web-based served hosted by AMS.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures the world’s only noninvasive alcohol-detection system that automatically tests for alcohol every hour, 24 hours a day, regardless of the individual’s location.SCRAM (the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is the first alcohol testing technology to use Transdermal Analysis to determine an individual’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 offenders and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 40 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.