People involved in alcohol-related criminal cases may be sweating over the newest monitoring device that judges are strapping to their ankles, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That’s what officials want, because the machine constantly tests its wearer’s perspiration for trace levels of alcohol. Court and probation officials are embracing the monitor, known as a SCRAM device, as a way to keep better tabs on people on bond or probation. “I really find it invaluable,” said Jefferson County Associate Circuit Judge Stephan Bouchard. “Most people just don’t drink when they are on these monitors because they understand the consequences.”
The Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, a private probation monitoring company that goes by EMASS, manages the program here. “I’m convinced this is going to revolutionize how alcohol offenders are monitored,” said Michael Smith, president of EMASS. “Alcohol is difficult to test for because it metabolizes so quickly. Someone under house arrest could be sitting at home drunk out of his mind, and we’d never know. But this tests every hour.” SCRAM is popping up all over the court system, usually when alcohol is a contributing factor to a crime. The ankle monitor goes on defendants released on bond awaiting trial, those sentenced to probation, underage drinking offenders or those with multiple drunken driving offenses.