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What Is a SCRAM® Bracelet?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
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A SCRAM® bracelet is a device used to monitor people who are required to refrain from consuming alcohol as a term of probation, parole, or bail. This device is worn at all times around the ankle, taking regular readings to check for signs of alcohol in the sweat. Periodically, the bracelet connects to a modem to transmit information for review. If the wearer has consumed alcohol, it will be apparent from the readings, and an officer of the court can take action.

The acronym stands for “secure continuous remote alcohol monitor.” The SCRAM® bracelet is designed to be water resistant and tamper proof. People who attempt to remove the device or to skew the readings can be subject to penalty, and the device has a proximity alarm that will send an alert if tampering or removal is detected. SCRAM® bracelets can be worn in the shower and during physical activity and are designed to withstand hard use.

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In addition to wearing the bracelet, people are also required to move into the modem's range periodically so that the device can transmit. If someone does not report via modem, this will be considered a violation of the probation, parole, or bail terms. Special arrangements may be made in unique circumstances where someone knows that he or she will miss a reporting period ahead of time, as for example if the SCRAM® bracelet wearer is attending a medical appointment and there is no access to a phone line at the appointed time.

If the wearer fails to report or the SCRAM® bracelet indicates that alcohol is present in the sweat, a hearing will be held to make a decision about how to handle the situation. The wearer may be returned to custody for a violation of parole, bail, or probation. The hearing may determine that the person should be given a second chance. People can also challenge the SCRAM® bracelet readings, as for example if someone argues that a body care product containing alcohol was used and it skewed the results.

The SCRAM® bracelet is one among a family of law enforcement tools that are designed to allow people to rejoin their communities, with monitoring, as long as they uphold the terms of bail, probation, and parole agreements. These devices are controversial in some regions, where people believe that they restrict personal freedom or expose people to risk in the form of false readings that may have serious consequences.

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