MI Tethers Become International Hit - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

MI Tethers Become International Hit

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)- The Michigan Department of Corrections is using some state of the art equipment, and officials from London toured the department's Electronic Monitoring Center.

Max Chambers heads England's criminal justice research, and he says Michigan incarcerates nearly as many people as the whole United Kingdom does. "but it seems to be that it's changing that people are being particularly with this technology, moved out of the jails and into the community," said Chambers.

He's talking about SCRAM, a tether that monitors alcohol use. There are more SCRAM monitors strapped to offenders in Michigan than anywhere else in the world. "We are the largest government agency that makes use of scram so it's nice to be able to show off what we do here," said Greg Roach, Michigan Department Of Corrections.

It looks just like tethers that track where people go, but SCRAM's are different. Every 30 minutes it tests a person's sweat for alcohol. The experts say it's much harder to fool than a breathalyzer. "48 tests a day, it's very hard to drink around the scram monitor...virtually impossible," said Dick Irrer, Alcohol Monitoring Systems Inc.

SCRAM costs $3,000 a year versus 35,000 it costs for one year of jail for one person. "Think the primary goal is we've got people who drink too much and commit violent offenses and other misdemeanors while being drunk so this is part of the solution that we see as trying to tackle that problem," said Chambers.

Reduce crime by keeping addicts sober, Michigan and London officials say that's the real goal.

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