WASHINGTON, D.C.—When more than 1,000 probation and parole officers from across the U.S. gather next week in D.C. for the American Probation and Parole Association’s 35th Annual Training Institute, many will be wearing—and testing—a technology that’s taken center stage throughout the country in the last few months: the SCRAMx alcohol monitoring anklets.
Known as Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitors, the technology has been in the spotlight recently, thanks to some high-profile, Hollywood offenders. But to the corrections professionals who deal with DUI and other alcohol-involved offenders every day, there is nothing trivial about the issues, which cost the U.S. more than $184 billion annually. “A sweat-sniffing ankle bracelet is technologically interesting and gets a lot of attention in the media,” says Stephen K. Talpins, president of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime (NPAMC). “But the root cause of the issues—alcohol abuse and addiction—are crippling criminal justice, and technologies are essential to help mitigate the epidemic,” he says. In June, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) issued an official Position Statement supporting the use of “all proven and effective” technologies in the detection of alcohol among DWI and Drug Court participants, specifically citing Continuous Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring as an important tool.
According to Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), the company that manufactures and markets the SCRAMx Bracelets nationwide, more than 144,000 offenders in 48 states have been monitored with the system since April 2004. Lou Sugo, vice president of Marketing for the Denver-based company, says that while SCRAMx is seeing widespread use and has enjoyed strong penetration in the corrections market, they engage in extensive conference-based product demonstrations because seeing is believing. “The best proof statement we can offer corrections professionals is to wear it themselves—see how accurate the system is—in order to determine whether it’s appropriate for the offenders that they’re managing.” According to Sugo, AMSis the only company offering overnight product demonstrations at the conference. “No other company is willing to take the challenge and conduct side-by-side product demonstrations,” says Sugo. According to AMS, nearly 1,000 offenders in Virginia and Maryland have been monitored with SCRAMx, with Louden and Anne Arundel counties with the most SCRAMx use to-date.
The SCRAMx system includes an ankle bracelet, worn around-the-clock, that samples an offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes in order to ensure compliance with court-ordered sobriety. In February of this year, SCRAMreleased the new multi-function version of the technology, known asSCRAMx, becoming the first system in the world to provide both house arrest (or “home detention”) monitoring and 24/7 alcohol monitoring in the same anklet. In addition to demoing the accuracy of the company’s established alcohol monitoring technology while at the conference, AMS will also be demonstrating how the alcohol testing system integrates with the home detention component, using the exhibit hall as the boundaries for the RF monitor. “The alcohol testing is what sets us apart from the other technologies, but showing how they work together is very important for the professionals who utilize these technologies every day to keep their communities safe,” says Sugo.
Corrections professionals from across the country will wear and testSCRAMx next week at the APPA 35th Annual Training Institute, running August 15th through 18th, at the Hilton Washington, D.C. A number of technologies and products will be on exhibit.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures SCRAMx®, a multifunction monitoring system that combines curfew monitoring with 24/7 alcohol monitoring that uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption. 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. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 115 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.