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Alcohol Detection Anklets Showing Promise In NZ

With COVID-19, Incidents of Alcohol Abuse Reportedly on the Rise

Alcohol Detection Anklets (ADA) are garnering a lot of attention in New Zealand and Australia for helping alcohol-involved clients refrain from drinking. The anklets use transdermal technology to detect alcohol use in individuals who have been ordered by court or parole to refrain from consumption as a condition of release.

The technology has been through numerous pilots and trial usage in New Zealand with impressive results:

  • In one pilot, 153 offenders were monitored for a total of 18,442 days.
  • There were confirmed drinking events on only 649 of those days, indicating that wearers remained sober 96.5% of the time.
  • Of the 153 clients monitored, 115 remained completely abstinent from alcohol for the entire duration of their sentence, a 75.2% sober rate.
  • One judge overseeing clients on Alcohol Detection Anklets said, “It has been an essential tool to assist the court to detect alcohol use. Participants report that they have found the device a very powerful deterrent and a support for them at the same time, especially in the early days of abstinence.”

With stressors related to COVID-19, police are reporting increased alcohol abuse and elevated concerns regarding domestic violence, and community-based home detention is on the rise.

A report from the New Zealand Department of Corrections indicates that testing for alcohol and other drugs is essential for corrections and police officials to be able to intervene with high-risk offenders who are ordered to abstain from alcohol use by the court or Parole Board. This is often the case when the individual is at risk of causing harm from substance misuse.

According to the report, “it is estimated that more than 50% of crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

In May of this year, the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom announced new legislation under which offenders who commit alcohol-fueled crime can be banned from drinking and made to wear the anklets, referred to as ‘sobriety tags’ in the UK. The UK went from trial to national rollout with stats mirroring the success seen in New Zealand. This rollout is currently in progress with Wales going live in October and England starting in 2021.

Alcohol Detection Anklets—otherwise known as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring®—are manufactured by SCRAM Systems® based out of Littleton, Colorado, in the United States. The CEO for SCRAM Systems has a New Zealand connection. Glenn Tubb was the Managing Director for J.D. Edwards New Zealand and Australia from 1988 through 2000, before moving to Denver, Colorado. Tubb has been with SCRAM Systems since 2002, from the complete startup stage to becoming one of the largest community corrections technology providers in the world. J.D. Edwards is a global leader in ERP software solutions that boasts many of NZ and Australia’s largest companies as customers. Of note, J.D. Edwards was acquired by Oracle in 2002.

“ADA is the right tool to help community corrections in New Zealand change people’s behavior for the better,” said Tubb. “Our corporate mission statement is that we make a difference in people’s lives. We mean that sincerely, and every single person in our company is committed to that goal.”

About SCRAM Systems
SCRAM Systems® is a leading provider of electronic monitoring and software solutions for the criminal justice industry. The company’s flagship SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) technology, launched in 2003 and revolutionized the way courts, agencies and treatment providers monitor and manage alcohol-involved offenders. In 2013 the company launched the industry’s most comprehensive suite of electronic monitoring technologies, which includes SCRAM Remote Breath®, SCRAM GPS® and SCRAM House Arrest®. The company has since launched software solutions including SCRAM Nexus® to support the adoption and deployment of Evidence-Based Practices, a mobile client engagement tool called SCRAM TouchPoint™, and the first license-based software platform, SCRAM 24/7™ to support probation and sobriety programs. SCRAM Systems employs 280 people worldwide and is a privately held company with headquarters in Littleton, Colorado.

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