Of the available alcohol testing techniques, transdermal alcohol testing has proved beneficial in its use of SCRAM bracelets. This technology has been developed over time and generally involves the testing of substances, such as alcohol, ‘’through the skin’’ (which is what transdermal means).
Since its introduction to the UK in 2012, it has been effective in considerably reducing the alcohol consumption of offenders who were meant to abstain as a result of alcohol-influenced crimes. Based upon a pilot scheme in South London boroughs, 92 percent of the 113 people who were issued these tags for 120 days, stayed away from alcohol. Following this observation, instead of sentencing offenders involved in alcohol-influenced crimes to unpaid work, magistrates are expected to use SCRAM as an alternative.
TRANSDERMAL ALCOHOL TESTING AND SCRAM
Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor or SCRAM, makes use of the transdermal technology, which allows alcohol testing and consumption observation, through the skin. The pattern and frequency with which the wearer consumes alcohol can easily be ascertained because, samples are taken periodically- every 30 minutes; every day of the week. The SCRAM therefore, measures skin emissions such as sweat, to determine whether or not alcohol has been ingested. This device is usually worn on the ankle from where a tiny pumps collects samples which it tests.
In instances where alcohol has been abused and restriction has been placed on an individual by a judge, the use of transdermal alcohol testing ensures a high level of compliance by the offender. This is because the accuracy of a transdermal test allows for relatively efficient monitoring of the offender.
In the case of a SCRAM bracelet for instance, it is more effective than a home monitoring device. In that, it is synced with a wireless device being monitored by the appropriate authorities to which it sends data and recordings.
Transdermal testing in Family Law Courts is not a new phenomenon. It has been written into the Legal Aid Guidance on Remuneration of Expert Witnesses and, with the shrinking of funds and change in Legal Aid in England and Wales, transdermal testing has been useful to family courts.
It is now going to be available to London courts; an initiative funded by the Ministry of Justice and the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. The British Crime Survey says that more than half of violent crimes involve alcohol. This scheme is therefore geared at reducing the occurrences of alcohol-induced crimes as well as helping offenders stay off excessive consumption and get back on the right track afterwards.
Basically, when an offender is found guilty of an alcohol-related offense, whether or not the individual is sentenced or put under probation depends upon abstinence from alcohol. It is because of this that courts consider alcohol testing methods which include blood, urine or breath-testing. Transdermal testing has been increasingly favoured. It has proved effective and as shown by the pilot scheme, offenders are more likely to comply with this method. The Transdermal Alcohol Testing may well represent the future of alcohol testing as it continues to be a preferred method in relation to others.