A tool to monitor convicted alcohol offenders is being put to the test. Texas judges are strapping on SCRAM and testing it themselves. It's small and sleek, but not exactly the fashion statement.
SCRAM is one of the newest monitoring tools in law enforcement.
If you drink you will get caught, said Terry Fain, SCRAM spokesman.
SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) is used in sentencing for repeat alcohol offenders.
We are struggling with driving while intoxicated cases. As you see our numbers in Travis County have just skyrocketed, said Travis County DWI Judge Elisabeth Earle.
Judge Earle says 100 convicted offenders in Travis County are wearing SCRAM.
SCRAM straps around the ankle. With a single click, it's in place, and it immediately starts working.
SCRAM is built to scan for traces of alcohol. Judges use it to monitor offenders during probation. Developers say it's more accurate than a breath test. Every 30 minutes SCRAM takes a scan. It reads the perspiration level on the body.
If you've been drinking, as the alcohol eliminates from the skin, we'll capture that and test it, said Fain.
If SCRAM detects ethanol, the court system will know immediately. A report is transmitted wirelessly.
I actually wore it myself just to make sure it works. It does, said Judge Earle.
Texas is currently the leading state to incorporate SCRAM into sentencing. Of the 11,000 offenders currently wearing SCRAM in the nation, 1,500 are in Texas.
Developers say more judges are considering adding the tool to their court. Monday night, four tested it out as part of a state training convention. It is most often incorporated into sentencing for repeat alcohol offenders, underage drinkers and domestic violence cases. It is also used in Family Court when custody is dependent on a parent's sobriety.
Typically, developers say the defendant covers the expense of SCRAM. It averages out to about $84 a week.