Top SCRAM Facts You Need to Know

While nearly all offenders charged with impaired driving are ordered to abstain from alcohol consumption and a number of methods exist to monitor compliance, doing so in real time has been notoriously difficult. 

Existing blood, breath, and urine testing processes are used infrequently and not consistently applied because they require significant staffing, resources, and costs to implement. In fact, a national survey of 890 probation officers in 41 states revealed that officers spend less than 10% of their time engaged in random testing of offenders (Robertson and Simpson 2003). This, of course, offers little incentive to stay sober. 

Fortunately, alcohol testing has significantly evolved over the last two decades, which has led to the most promising technology available today, Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM). This device uses transdermal alcohol monitoring and allows for continuous monitoring of offenders 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the supervision period.

Here are some top facts about SCRAM (Provided by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation).

  • Continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring is primarily intended to deter offenders from violating the terms of court-ordered abstinence Continuous Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring: A Primer for Criminal Justice Professionals through the constant monitoring of alcohol consumption and swift notification of violations. 
  • Criminologists and criminal justice practitioners are currently designing implementation guidelines to assist courts, probation, treatment, and correctional agencies with the use of SCRAM technology. These guidelines will emphasize accountability, streamlined practices and procedures, good communication and information exchange, and contain a structured evaluation that will assist agencies in developing evidence-based practices.
  • After more than 70 years of research and 22 peer-reviewed studies into the science underpinning this new technology, it has been clearly established that ingested alcohol can be validly measured in perspiration through the process of transdermal alcohol testing, i.e., testing of alcohol vapors that are excreted through the skin. 
  • Research studies over the past 10 years have demonstrated that transdermal alcohol readings or results are correlated to blood alcohol concentrations. There is a recognized and measurable delay in the absorption and elimination of alcohol, so simultaneous breath or blood and transdermal alcohol readings should not be expected to produce similar results at a specific point in time. 
  • Transdermal alcohol testing is a valid way of determining whether an individual has consumed a small, moderate, or large amount of alcohol, and is designed to be used as a screening device to determine alcohol use. This testing method is not designed to produce a specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading.
  • Research studies conducted by the University of Colorado Health Science Center, the Michigan Department of Corrections, and Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, involving testing with probation officers and offenders, conclude the SCRAM device is a valid and reliable way of testing for alcohol consumption and is a “fast-acting deterrent.” 
  • The SCRAM device is a passive, non-invasive tool that reliably and continuously monitors and measures alcohol consumption 24/7 for an extended period.
  • The SCRAM device is a tamper- and water-resistant bracelet, containing an electrochemical sensor that is attached to the offender using a durable strap. The device captures transdermal alcohol readings from continuous samples of vaporous or insensible perspiration collected from the wearer’s ankle.
  • The SCRAM device has a number of anti-circumvention features including: tamper clips, buckled strap, obstruction sensor, temperature sensor, and communication monitoring to ensure that the bracelet is functioning normally and capturing and transmitting information related to the designated offender.
  • The bracelet transmits testing information daily on a predetermined schedule to a modem installed in the offender’s residence or place of work using a radio-frequency (RF) signal. This information is encrypted and transferred via a standard analog phone line to a secure central website (SCRAMNET) managed by SCRAM Systems.
  • Criminal justice professionals can access SCRAMNET at their convenience, using a standard internet browser, to obtain a variety of progress reports specific to their caseload, and receive customized notifications of events and alerts. 
  • SCRAM is relevant to several programs,  including pre-trial, probation supervision, specialty courts, treatment, re-entry, and parole.

Moon Security SCRAM Services WA, ID, OR

Moon Security Services is an authorized SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) service provider offering community-based SCRAM services to the criminal justice system with programs in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

For more information about Moon Security’s court services, call 888-262-1371.

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