There is a new program available to the courts in dealing with multiple offender DUI cases. It is known as the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM).
Due to the fact that the courts, and the criminal justice system as a whole, are feeling as though conventional sanctions are not preventing repeat DUI offenses, the corrections system has been looking for new methods to monitor, treat, and rehabilitate those who commit repeat alcohol offenses (source). Traditionally, courts would simply punish and educate those who presented with their second and third DUI offenses. Now, they are turning to more modern methods. SCRAM utilizes transdermal alcohol testing to determine a person’s blood alcohol content. SCRAM is able to measure the amount of alcohol that migrates through the skin. This method has been deemed a reliable way of obtaining even minimal amounts of alcohol consumption. SCRAM has been designed to collect, store, and transmit a subject’s alcohol level information passively. Thus, the person being monitored by SCRAM doesn’t even know when they are being tested, or how often. The courts see this as a way to easily and cost-effectively monitor those with multiple DUI offenses without room for human error.
THE WAY IT WORKS
SCRAM is an ankle bracelet that takes minutes to set up and is then worn 24/7. The actual device weighs 8 oz. and is both water and tamper resistant. The ankle bracelet has two components:
-The first part contains a sensor pack, which measures ethanol
vapor as it migrates through the skin to determine transdermal
alcohol concentration. These measurements are made on a pre-
determined schedule set up by the monitoring agency.
-The second part contains electronics for tamper detection and
system control, as well as collecting, storing, and transferring
data. A tamper detection strap acts as an electronic link
between the two parts and secures the bracelet to the client’s
The person wearing the SCRAM bracelet is tracked by a central monitoring station. The supervising agency can set up and modify the testing schedule based on each individual. Up to 48 tests can be performed per day, without the client ever knowing they are occurring. Every reading SCRAM takes is date-stamped, time-stamped, and stored in a memory chip within the SCRAM bracelet until it is transmitted, via the SCRAM modem, to the SCRAM network. The SCRAM modem is set up in the client’s home and, at the times set by the supervising agency, will “communicate” with the ankle bracelet. In the event of a positive reading or a tamper alert alarm, the bracelet will register and store a reading and immediately attempt to make a connection with the modem. The data obtained will upload as soon as the client is within range.