Who has to Wear a SCRAM Bracelet?

August 04, 2022 by Anthony Riccio

Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring Systems or SCRAM bracelets are part of a series of devices produced by SCRAM Systems. Their hallmark product, SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM CAM), is commonly referred to as the SCRAM bracelet. The science behind the bracelet allows the detection of alcohol through the wearer’s skin. SCRAM CAM detects alcohol that has not been processed in the liver nor the lungs/kidneys but rather released in sweat. 

How Does a SCRAM Bracelet Work?

While only 1% of the alcohol passed through the system comes out in sweat, there is a sufficient amount for the SCRAM bracelet to detect. The alcohol released through the skin is most apparent to humans when someone “smells of alcohol.” This is a scenario in which someone has consumed a significant amount of alcohol. SCRAM is able to distinguish dermally-transmitted alcohol from even ambient indicators of alcohol in the environment. 

The anklet takes samples of the wearer’s sweat every 30 minutes in a way that keeps them accountable. This is important for those attempting to recover from alcohol abuse and similar conditions. As alcohol cannot be processed by the body in a mere half-hour, almost any quantity of consumed alcohol will be detected by SCRAM Systems.

The alcohol monitoring device is able to track individuals over time to establish patterns to present to a monitoring agency. The tracking agency will notify the police department, court, or other institution given the responsibility of enforcing limited consumption on an individual. 

Who Has to Wear One and Why

The main idea is to wane those off of alcohol who may otherwise be a threat to those around them when impaired. Individuals with petty charges such as open carry of a first Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge are unlikely to land someone with the electronic product strapped to their ankle. 

The decision on who will be required to wear a SCRAM bracelet or not is largely dependent on the judge in charge of the case. Should someone be a repeat offender of a DUI or have a history of violence, they may be subject to more scrutiny and closer monitoring by the courts. 

Another typical example of a scenario in which someone will be ordered to wear the anklet for extended periods of time is breakage of bail or probation. In the eyes of the law, this is seen as a simple act of dishonesty and lacking integrity. SCRAM Systems may quickly arise in these situations in order to keep a closer eye on someone. 

Likewise, when an individual waiting for their trial or otherwise detained may be requested to partake in transdermal alcohol monitoring. SCRAM bracelets are comparable to GPS (Geographical Positioning System) ankle monitors in the sense that they are used to keep criminals or suspected criminals in check. 

Restrictions and Limitations of Wearing a SCRAM CAM

The SCRAM CAM is popular in court orders for just how much it restricts alcohol consumption. SCRAM System’s anklet does not allow the consumption of any alcohol whatsoever. This means that it will alert authorities the moment any trace of alcohol is detected through the sweat.

The bracelets are also unable to be used under the water. The SCRAM bracelet is water resistant, meaning that water in the form of splashing, such as in a shower or in the rain, is acceptable. As the product is not waterproof, wearers are unable to submerge the bracelet in a bath or at the pool.

Finally, SCRAM CAM bracelets also have an optional house arrest feature. Depending on the court order, authorities are able to establish a curfew on a convicted individual. Through a proximity-based system, the SCRAM bracelet can be set to make the wearer physically be within a certain radius of the “base station” during designated curfew windows.

Critiques of the SCRAM Anklet Efficacy 

There are a number of critiques of the SCRAM bracelet that have arisen over the years. Issues regarding privacy, physical irritation, and reliability have all been presented for some time now. Many of them are contested in a court of law before someone is made to wear one, but most often after the fact.

The flagship device of SCRAM Systems has been known to trigger false positives from time to time. Despite the company’s claim that the system is able to avoid a positive reading on ambient alcohol, some reports show that this is not always the case. 

One of the first instances known of false positives has to do with spray tans. Some people who receive spray tans prior to or while wearing the bracelet have had positive readings sent to authorities. This story went public and became infamous after it was revealed that Lindsey Lohan had to halt her use of the chemical bronzer to avoid triggering her court-issued anklet. 

In a similar case, a salon hairstylist had to battle a number of claims that she had been abusing alcohol – evidence that was supported by the positive readings on her SCRAM bracelet. Despite this, the hairdresser showed no signs of drinking, and the false positives were revealed to have come from the extensive use of hairspray in the salon. 

Transdermal pain patches, in addition to simple mouthwashes containing alcohol, were among some other products that would set off the machine. Yet these everyday items failed to shadow the fact that SCRAM System’s ankle bracelet sometimes causes extreme irritation to the wearer, sometimes even triggering allergic reactions to metal and even bone infections. These serious conditions have called into question the integrity and necessity of the bracelet on more than one occasion. 

Can a False Positive Be Contested in Court?

As previously discussed, there are situations in which a SCRAM bracelet may transmit a false positive to authorities. As this can have serious repercussions for the individual wearing the device, its integrity must be assured. A defendant who has been accused of violating the terms of their sentence does in fact have the right to request a hearing to contest the positive. This would be performed with the help of an experienced attorney who has a history of dealing with SCRAM Systems and alcohol-related charges in court.