Actress Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities are not the only ones wearing ankle bracelets that monitor alcohol intake – thousands of Texans are doing the same thing, says the Dallas Morning News. The SCRAM – Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor – has been used in Texas since 2003, after Vickers Cunningham, then a judge, learned about it at a probation and parole officers conference. He was so impressed by the technology that after leaving the bench and losing a bid for district attorney, he became chief operating officer of Recovery Healthcare, the Dallas company that holds the technology’s franchise in Texas.
The bracelet measures alcohol consumption by reading vapors given off in perspiration. It samples a person’s sweat every 30 minutes, then transmits the readings to the company daily. If the person is using the device under court order because he or she is on probation for an offense such as driving while intoxicated, the readings are submitted to the probation office, which determines whether a probation violation has occurred. Cunningham and his partner testify in courtroom proceedings, typically for probation revocation, about what the report means. “This device is not going to prevent you from consuming alcohol,” Cunningham said. “It’s not going to prevent you from driving a motor vehicle. What we do is try to modify the conduct and the behavior of these people to eliminate alcohol from their life, so that you don’t have a DWI situation.” Mary Kardell of the North Texas Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the bracelets, in conjunction with other technology, are an effective deterrent to drinking. “You can’t ever take it off, so it’s a constant reminder that you’re not supposed to be consuming alcohol,” she said.