Prove Sobriety With Alcohol-Monitoring Ankle Bracelet
By: Mary Ann Pekara
In Riverside County, Calif., DUI offenders are being given a chance to prove their sobriety through an ankle
bracelet program. The country started the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol
Monitor (SCRAM) program last year and received press when comedian Andy Dick
was fitted with one of the ankle bracelets last year. Dick showed off the
device when he appeared on "The View."
A San-Francisco-based company, Leaders in Community Services
administers the program for the county. DUI offenders and others who are on
probation wear the SCRAM ankle bracelet, which takes a blood
alcohol content reading every half hour, based on the amount of alcohol in
a person's sweat. At least once every 24
hours, the data collected by the SCRAM device is uploaded for review by a case
There are currently 55 people enrolled in the SCRAM program
in Riverside County. Linda Connelly,
president and CEO of Leaders in Community Services told The Press-Enterprise
that approximately 40 percent of those enrolled have been charged with felony
Program participants must pay a fee for entry into the
program. The fee is usually a minimum of
$5 per day. Riverside County Superior Court presiding Judge Tom Cahraman says
even the minimum fee, based on the participant's ability to pay, may be too
much. Because of the high compliance rate associated with the devices, County
Supervisor Jeff Stone plans to seek funding for the SCRAM program for
Dick received three years' probation and was ordered to wear
the SCRAM ankle bracelet for one year after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor
battery and drug possession. The charges against Dick were in connection with
an incident that happened in July 2008 outside a restaurant in Murrieta, Calif.
Police were called after an apparently extremely intoxicated Dick yanked down a
17-year-old girl's tank top.
Several weeks ago, TMZ reported an arrest warrant was issued
for Dick for violating the terms of his probation. Dick allegedly reported to his case
agent that he had been at a comedy club, but drank only water when his ankle
bracelet detected alcohol. The warrant was rescinded.
Connelly says that most people have no alcohol alerts from
their SCRAM ankle bracelets. Dick reportedly claimed that someone had spilled alcohol on
the floor at the club, and that was the reason for the false alarm on his ankle
bracelet. Approximately 60 people participated in the SCRAM program in
Riverside County in 2008 and 87 percent of those had no alcohol alerts. Those
who had alerts were mostly the product of new users attempting to tamper with
Last year the program had a 90 percent success rate, with
the average participant wearing the device for 122 days.
Alcohol Monitoring Systems manufactures the SCRAM ankle
bracelets and there are currently active programs in 46 states.
More information on California DUI.