Alcohol Monitoring Bracelets New to Boone County

By: Lauren Cravats
By: Lauren Cravats

STATELINE (WIFR) -- The results of drinking and driving are something we report too often, whether it's a fatality or jail time. Now the Boone County State's Attorney's office has a new weapon to keep drunk drivers from re-offending.

Brad Thompkins can only ride in the passenger seat. His license was revoked after getting two DUI's just four months a part in 2008, he also served jail time.

"It put a stop on my life, financially, emotionally, mentally," says Thompkins.

Thompkins believes there should be even tougher penalties for drunk drivers. An ankle bracelet called SCRAM, which stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, is one of those tougher tools now in Boone County.

The bracelet tests perspiration and body temperature through a metal plate, so once you put the bracelet on, it takes a sample every half hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If an offender has any amount of alcohol, the bracelet will know.

"We've had people use a mouthwash that had alcohol in it and they didn't know, and it shows (a spike)," says Pam Kirchner, a field technician with Alcohol Monitors of Illinois.

Monitor graphs would also show a spike if a drink spills on your skin, but offenders won't get in trouble unless they're intentionally drinking. Kirchner helps install SCRAM ankle bracelets in Jo Daviess County where she says the success rate is high.

"People that are wearing the bracelet are more successful because they know they can't fool it. I've had clients that have kept their families together, that have kept their jobs with this bracelet instead of being incarcerated," says Kirchner.

Thompkins says he supports the new tool.

"The ankle bracelet, I feel that would be more beneficial because what that's doing is eliminating drinking completely."

Third-party monitors typically check the results of the samples once a day . In Boone County, offenders will have to pay to wear the ankle bracelet; anywhere from $8 to $15 a day.


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