Rio Rancho Municipal Judge G. Robert Cook is requiring certain drunk driving offenders to wear 24 hour a day alcohol monitors. The SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) Bracelets are worn for a specified amount of time. The monitor tests for alcohol consumption every 4 minutes, automatically. The device measures alcohol consumption through the participant’s sweat. As perspiration is excreted through the skin, the ankle monitor registers any alcohol and reports it back to the monitoring company. The judge saw the success of a similar program in Taos County and decided to follow suit. New Mexico had recently enacted bail reform which meant that many people were released immediately by the courts and committing the same crimes. The judge was fed up with seeing the same defendants in his courtroom for the same offenses. The most common offenses were drunk driving related.
Judge Cook has seen a vast improvement with the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring program. Defendants are monitored for an average of 60 days. The out-of-pocket cost is around $9 a day. The defendant is responsible for the cost of the monitoring which has saved taxpayers from having to front the costs of that same defendant sitting in jail. Most participants successfully complete their monitoring period without incident. They have verified sober days and are more likely to appear in court than being released on their own recognizance without any conditions.