Alcohol Monitoring Device

New Alcohol Testing Device Monitors Repeat Offenders

Seneca County, Ohio-County probation officers are considering
implementing a high-tech ankle bracelet that can continuously monitor
ethanol, a byproduct of drinking alcohol, and transmit the information to
a secure network.

The device, called Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor system, or
SCRAM, is water and tamper-resistant, and it collects, stores and
transmits measurements of a subject’s blood alcohol content (BAC) without prompt from the wearer
or the supervising agency. It could be most useful with repeat DUI
offenders and others committed to alcohol dependency treatment.

If the court were to decide to use the patented bracelet, offenders
charged with DUI could choose SCRAM instead of house arrest or time in
prison. SCRAM, however, comes with a price: $12 a day, a $100 refundable
deposit, and a $75 installation fee. While SCRAM would be limited to
those who can afford it, it is not much more expensive than house arrest,
which requires a monitoring device with a $40 installation fee and $10 a

Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc, and a Denver company named Oriana House of Akron, developed SCRAM. Oriana House
Executive Vice President Bernie Rochford said, “You hate to get into
economics with offenders, but that’s the reality of it.”

Rochford stated, “Conventional alcohol testing has posed some
challenges in the past because we would only know if a person consumed
alcohol by administering a Breathalyzer test while the alcohol is
still in a person’s system.” He added that with SCRAM, real-time BAC can be determined.

The eight-ounce ankle bracelet determines BAC by measuring the ethanol that moves through
the surface of a person’s skin. SCRAM tests once an hour and communicates
with the modem that is installed in the offender’s home.

The device in addition to monitoring alcohol, detects tampering. If a
violation is recorded, the system tests every 30 minutes.

Correctional facility representatives have expressed support of using
SCRAM for those convicted of non-violent alcohol-related crimes. Positive
results could include depopulating jails, allowing offenders to
participate in regular life activities, and giving the courts better
information regarding an offender’s substance abuse problem.

January, 2004

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