Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring: SCRAM

In an age when our criminal justice system is overburdened, and our jails and prisons are overcrowded, technology has found a way to meet the need to protect the community and still offer continuous supervision and rehabilitation to offenders. Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring or SCRAM can test offenders for alcohol use while the offender works, goes to treatment and participates in the community.

How SCRAM works

The device is worn as an ankle bracelet, and takes a sample of insensible perspiration- the sweat that is always present on a person’s skin, and tests the sample for the presence of ethanol. SCRAM utilizes the fuel cell technology found in breath tests. The information is then sent to a base station located in the offender’s home, which in turn sends it to Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. The company sends a daily report to the criminal justice agency supervising the offender. If the person’s blood alcohol content is 0.02 or higher, it is considered a positive test and is verified by the Alcohol Monitoring Systems. An initial positive test could be initiated by the use of products that contain alcohol, like perfume or hairspray. However, these products evaporate quite quickly, much faster than the human body can process alcohol, so it is possible to determine if a positive is the result of using a product with alcohol or the result of actually consuming alcohol.

SCRAM can detect tampering

SCRAM also has features to detect tampering. It uses infrared to monitor the wearer’s body temperature and also determining the quality of the reflective surface that temperature reading comes from. This prevents an offender from putting anything between his or her skin and the SCRAM to prevent it from detecting alcohol use.

How much does a SCRAM costs?

Depending on jurisdiction, the offender may have to cover the cost of the device ($12-13 in 2010). In one survey, the cost of SCRAM was $12 per day, but respondents reported spending approximately $10 on alcohol, so it could be argued that one cost replaces the other since the offender probably isn’t purchasing alcohol.

Newer Model offers more

Newer models of SCRAM can now offer not just alcohol use monitoring, but location services as well. This makes them useful to criminal justice system as a way to monitor and enforce house arrests, curfews and other location based aspects of pre-and post- trial releases.

SCRAM and Team Green Lawyers

These new monitoring devices may seem like a burden to some offenders but to a well prepared defense attorney a SCRAM bracelet may be just the added insurance needed to keep a client out of jail. Many times with alcohol offenses if the defense attorney can craft a resolution that ensures their client will get counseling and abstain from drinking the Court and the prosecutor may be inclined to agree to no jail sentence. After all rehabilitation is often cheaper than incarceration. If you are charged with an alcohol related offense,you need a lawyer who knows how to prepare your defense and get you the best outcome possible. At Team Green Lawyers we have the knowledge and experience to help you. Please give us a call for a no cost consultation on your case at (315) 215-0517.