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Grundy County offering alcohol monitor instead of jail

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland announced last week that his office will begin offering the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor as an alternative to jail.

Often referred to as SCRAM, or an ankle bracelet, the devices can determine whether an individual has been drinking alcohol by testing perspiration once every half-hour, according to a news release from Helland’s office. It can determine the duration of a drinking event, according to the news release, and can detect whether the user has been tampering with it.

Helland said his office will ask Grundy County judges to require offenders to wear the SCRAM device as a condition of bond or probation when the offender has proven to be a serious repeat offender with a substance abuse problem.

“Bringing this program to Grundy County is a no-brainer,” Helland said in the news release. “It allows prosecutors to give some teeth to a judge’s order that an offender refrain from the consumption of alcohol by allowing 24/7 monitoring of an offender’s blood alcohol content. This is just another weapon in our arsenal to protect the public against the effects of substance abuse.”

Offenders will pay between $8 and $15 a day to wear the device, according to the news release, so taxpayers will not pick up any of the cost. The state’s attorney’s office will file a motion to increase bond or petition to revoke probation if an offender violates the condition of his or her bond or probation by consuming alcohol.

“We will utilize SCRAM in conjunction with treatment for alcohol and drug addiction to keep offenders sober long enough for treatment to have impact,” Helland said in the news release.

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