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How Sheriffs are Using Alcohol Monitoring Technology to Supervise Offenders

Posted by SCRAM Systems

How Sheriffs are Using Alcohol Monitoring Technology to Supervise Offenders

Jail overcrowding is a serious issue in the U.S., imprisoning more people than any other nation in the world. With 60% of jail inmates awaiting deposition and not actually serving time for a conviction, sheriffs programs that rely on alcohol monitoring technology to oversee offenders in lieu of incarceration are becoming more prevalent throughout the states.  

Sheriffs Programs Help Save Money and Jail Space

Sheriffs programs are innovative programs that successfully leverage technology to monitor pretrial and less violent offenders to balance costs and community safety. The average cost to incarcerate an offender is $71.23 a day. But programs using alcohol monitoring technologies, such as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) and SCRAM Remote Breath® at an average cost of $8 per day, not only help reduce jail populations but also save counties millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

Sheriffs programs can be implemented in a variety of ways. For example, in 2011, Contra Costa County in California began utilizing SCRAM CAM as part of a custody alternative program and saved the county $2.7 million. Another program in Wayne County, Michigan uses SCRAM CAM with RF/house arrest functionality as a stricter sanction for monitored individuals. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) program monitors over 1,200 alcohol-involved offenders every day and is the fastest growing program of its kind.

How Alcohol Monitoring Technology Supports Sheriffs

Alcohol monitoring devices can help sheriffs supervise offenders more easily and efficiently. SCRAM Remote Breath is often used to supervise lower-risk offenders and provides significant time savings within these programs. With its Automated Facial Intelligence™ (AFI™) photo matching system, SCRAM Remote Breath reduces the need to manually review breath test photos and also supplies a GPS location with each test, allowing sheriffs to keep track of offenders and identify those that attempt to circumvent testing.

SCRAM CAM, used to monitor higher-risk offenders, continuously tests for alcohol consumption every 30 minutes. SCRAM CAM can differentiate ingested alcohol from environmental alcohol as well as identify tampering events, only alerting sheriffs if a client is not compliant. And, because the device is attached to the ankle 24/7, it eliminates the need for offenders to travel to a sheriff’s office or other locations for manual alcohol testing. SCRAM CAM is not only beneficial for sheriffs programs but also helps support long-term behavior change in clients by holding them accountable for their actions.

Learn more about these innovative programs and how you can implement a sheriffs program in your community.

SCRAM Systems


The SCRAM Systems blog provides news and updates about our suite of alcohol and electronic monitoring products for the criminal justice industry. Since 2003, SCRAM Systems has offered technologies that truly Make a Difference for clients and communities. Led by the success of our flagship SCRAM CAM product, SCRAM Systems delivers innovative technology solutions that are on the forefront of what courts, agencies, and treatment providers need.

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