Courts in Canyon, Surrounding Counties Using Sweat-Sniffing Anklets on Drunk Drivers: 24/7 Alcohol Monitoring in Place for Local DUI, Domestic Violence, Drug Offenders
May 14, 2008, Caldwell, ID – Courts in Canyon and a number of surrounding counties have begun to implement a growing trend in high-tech law enforcement: A monitoring bracelet that’s worn 24/7 and actually samples your sweat in order to test for alcohol consumption.
The system, known as SCRAM® (the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), includes a high-tech anklet that samples a subject’s perspiration every 30 minutes, around the clock. Known as “continuous” alcohol testing, the system is designed specifically for long-term monitoring of alcohol-involved and alcohol-dependent offenders who are required to remain sober, either as part of their pre-trial release, as an alternative to a jail sentence or as a condition of probation or parole.
Freeman Monitoring Services, a Caldwell-based company that’s been providing offender management services to surrounding agencies for nearly 20 years, began offering SCRAM technology to local courts in late 2007. To-date, more than 50 offenders have been monitored by SCRAM in their territory, which includes Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Washington, Payette and Adams counties. Freeman also manages GPS monitoring programs for local jurisdictions. “Our goal is to utilize technology to help our local agencies alleviate issues such as jail overcrowding, budget constraints and increased workloads for community corrections officials,” says Staci Freeman-Madron, owner of Freeman Monitoring Services. Courts in Ada County have been using SCRAM since 2006, monitoring 40 to 45 offenders on any given day. Courts in the Twin Falls and McCall areas both began using SCRAM in late 2007.
Nationwide, SCRAM has monitored more than 63,000 offenders in 45 states since it first launched to the marketplace in 2003. Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS), the Colorado-based company that manufactures and markets SCRAM nationwide, says that the continuous testing protocol is essential to ensure that offenders no longer drink around testing schedules and get away with it. “Because SCRAM monitors high-risk offenders continuously, it offers an unprecedented level of accountability,” says Don White, vice president of Field Operations for AMS. The company says that the technology is used to monitor a variety of alcohol-involved offenders, including DUI, domestic violence, drug and juvenile offenders, as well as participants in family court.
According to AMS, courts throughout the country are shifting their focus to increased supervision of alcohol-fueled offenders in order to support better long-term treatment outcomes, ultimately reducing recidivism and improving community safety. “The repeat alcohol offender cycle isn’t just costly in terms of money, it’s also a significant risk for local communities,” says White. Freeman-Madron agrees, and she cites SCRAM’s successful track record throughout the country as a reason the technology is gaining momentum throughout the area. “Criminal justice practitioners are looking for reliable, cost-effective ways to effectively monitor compliance with court orders and increase public safety. SCRAM allows them to do both.” All offenders in their program are responsible for the daily monitoring fee for SCRAM, which averages between $10 and $12 per day nationwide. According to AMS, in more than 90 percent of the SCRAM programs throughout the U.S., the offenders pay either all or a significant portion of the daily fee, helping to alleviate the burden on overcrowded jails and prisons, as well as the taxpayers.
Alcohol and Crime: Idaho Quick Facts
According to The Century Council, which monitors and reports drunk driving statistics nationwide, nearly 10,000 drivers are arrested in Idaho each year for driving drunk. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in 75 percent of cases of domestic violence, the offender is drunk at the time of the offense. “It’s essential that the courts have access to technologies like SCRAM in order to help them separate the alcohol problem from the offender,”
says White. “You have to be able to get them sober in order to deal with the root cause of recidivism, which is alcohol abuse and addiction.”
About Freeman Monitoring Services
Established in 2007 to help provide cost-effective sentencing alternatives to criminal justice agencies, Freeman Monitoring Services manages Continuous Alcohol Monitoring and GPS offender tracking services to programs in Canyon and surrounding counties. Headquartered in Caldwell, Freeman is the exclusive SCRAM Service Provider in Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Washington, Payette and Adams counties.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures SCRAM®, the world’s only Continuous Alcohol Monitoring system, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption. SCRAM 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. Since its launch to the marketplace in 2003, SCRAM has monitored over 63,000 offenders and is now in use in 45 states. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 100 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.