Operation SCRAM Device: Stacy’s Experience Part 1

SCRAM – Day 1

I can’t think of a better way to end the year 2013 than to be a volunteer to have the SCRAM device installed on my ankle.  This month long project is going to be an experience I will not forget and it is only day one.   I went in for my appointment at Austin Recovery located at 812 San Antonio, Austin, Texas to have my device installed and start the monitoring process.  During my time at Austin Recovery I filled out numerous papers and watched a video that went over the Do’s and Don’ts of having the SCRAM device.

It was explained that throughout my time with the device it would be uncomfortable, vibrate, itch, make working out tough, sleeping even tougher and was told that my ankle would be extremely sore in the morning.  I had the SCRAM device installed at 10:45 am and walked out of the building a marked woman.

At first it did not bother me at all having the unknown object strapped to my right ankle.  I walked normal, sat normal, seemed like this was a breeze!  About an hour later my ankle started itching.  It wasn’t unbearable but it was noticeable.  Later I attempted to cross my ankles while sitting and hit the device with my other leg.  That hurt!  (Note to self don’t cross legs at ankles – got it!)

I was surprised that I never heard or felt the device vibrate until later in the day.  I only felt three vibrations on this day.  That was a piece of cake.

And now it was time to take a shower.  I figured this would be no problem.  I was told no fragrance soap, and use a wash cloth and bar soap to wash around and under the device.  HMMMM.. how hard could that be?  Well the device doesn’t exactly move up and down and all around.  It is loose enough that you can move it side to side to make it more comfortable when needed, but in the shower it was like watching a bull in the china store make it through a small aisle of china.  I kept moving the device up and down, side to side and washing all around and under the area.  This took longer than expected and was more difficult than I could have imagined.  With that under my belt for day one I thought I am done and we will move on to day 2 with no problems.   But no!  Drying ‘under’ the device was a HUGE task.  It is plastic and plastic doesn’t exactly dry quickly. I had to rub, blot, shimmy and whatever else I could do to get it all dried under the device.  Honestly, I think I gave up before I was done and just went to bed.

AHHHH – sleep.  FINALLY!  NOT!  I am not sure how many hours of sleep I got at one time but it was not enough for this gal.  It took forever to find a comfortable position.  Once I was comfortable I was fast asleep.  Well that lasted until I wanted to change positions.  That was hard and uncomfortable and my ankle started to hurt.  I went back to the original position I started in and fell fast asleep.  I woke up several more times during the night with this same problem and hope that tomorrow I will be able to find another solution so getting a good night of sleep will be possible.


The SCRAM device has to download to ‘home base’ every day in order to download the readings for monitoring.  The device only holds the data for 48 hours.  However, if you do not download daily then that is considered a violation.


Here was my dilemma.  The devices are programmed to download at 3:00 a.m.while you are sleeping.  You must be within 30 feet of the device at least 15 minutes prior to download so you must have the home based plugged into a telephone phone jack in your bedroom. Well, I don’t have a home phone!  There are a lot of people who don’t.  So I had to change my download time to 8:00 a.m. and plug the home base in at my office.  I work Monday through Friday so I would have to drive to the office on Saturday and Sunday, be there at 7:45 a.m. and stand by the base while it downloads.  If I don’t do this, then the report will show I failed to download and my probation officer or pretrial officer would be notified of my violation immediately.  The device cost $360.00 per month and a $75.00 installation fee.  If you damage the device your debit card will be charged $1500.00.  Also, you agree to NOT drink alcohol while you are wearing this device and if it reports alcohol in your system you will not only be in violation but they can charge you a violation fee and charge your debit card.

SCRAM Installation

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Watch the installation of the SCRAM Device here—>   IMG_1338!





SCRAM – Day 2

After a very long restless night it was time to get up and start my day.  Today I felt the device vibrate 4 times.  I woke up with a sore ankle and attempted to move it around in different positions to make it more comfortable but was unsuccessful.  It was the most comfortable in the original position of the ‘pager / sensor’ side on the inside of my ankle and the clasp on the outside of my ankle.

I was sitting on the couch and my daughter came to sit next to me and took her legs from the floor and put them on my lap.  On the way up she hit my SCRAM on two different occasions.  Both times it hurt and I feel like I will have a HUGE bruise when this is over.  However, there are no bruises, it just feels that way! I attempted to sit on the floor at a family gathering to play some games and was not able to cross my legs or sit with my legs bent to one side.  Nothing worked and I just had to get up.

The showering was difficult again tonight.  I have had the device on for over 24 hours and the area around my ankle and leg is very tender.  I tried again to move it around to wash with soap and water but it hurt, but I just kept doing it until I was finished.  After drying the device and getting ready for bed I had to come up with an idea to make sleeping easier.  So I am going to put a pillow around my ankles to keep the device from being hit by my left leg and see if that helps.  The device is so bulky on both sides of your legs you can’t just lay with one side down flat on the bed.

I took a picture of the device and under the device right before my shower and you can see from the photos that the chip in the ‘pager’ digs into your skin and leaves an impression.  You can also see little red bumps where my skin is irritated from wearing the device.

Tomorrow I am having a girl day with my daughter.  It is too cold to wear shorts but I really wanted to see what type of looks I would get when the general public saw my ankle bracelet.  But that will have to wait until a warmer day.  I do know that we will be unable to get a pedicure as planned because you cannot submerge the device into water, nor take baths.  That is considered a violation and will be reported.




SCRAM – day 3;

Actually woke up and had some rest.  The pillow trick worked – keeping it around my ankles.  The bracelet gets caught up in the covers and that makes it harder to move side to side with it on, but I was able to get some sleep.  I did my first download into my home base.  It took about three tries to get the bracelet to sync with the home base, but it finally worked.

I spent the day shopping and the bags I was carrying kept hitting the bracelet causing discomfort. Also, when we were in one particular store, it was very crowded and a very long line to checkout.  It was getting hot in there and once I started getting hot I noticed my skin around the bracelet started itching.

The area still is very tender to the touch.  It continues to make it hard to wash around the bracelet since moving it seems to make it even more tender.  By the time I got home it felt like I had been standing for days and my muscles around the bracelet were sore.  I actually felt 10 vibrations – the most yet.  The bracelet vibrated about every 30 minutes for a few hours and then went hours in between the vibration.  So far I have not noticed any particular pattern to the vibration schedule.


SCRAM – Day 4

This morning I woke up to a vibration at 5:04 a.m.  Luckily for the bracelet I get up that early anyway! The pillow trick seems to be working and I feel that sleep is getting a little easier.  During the night my husband accidentally hit the device with his leg on two occasions and that hurt! I do not feel the device hanging on my leg like I did the first few days.  I think I am getting used to it and it is irritating my leg less.

I was told to be next to the home base device 15 minutes prior to the sync process which is set for 8:00 a.m.  Sharply at 7:45 a.m. I sat next to the device and drank my coffee.  As I waited, the base device did nothing.  It just reads ‘monitoring’ on the screen.   I am not known for patience so I went back into my office and came back to the device at 7:55 a.m. and waited.  I waited, waited and waited.  At 8:05 a.m. I figured the base and the bracelet was not going to sync so I got out my magnets given to me by Austin Recovery and synced the bracelet by hand.  It has me wondering if I missed the auto sync process by going back and forth from the base to my office OR if the home base just isn’t doing its job.  I should have an answer to that in a few more days of syncing.

From 5:04 a.m. through 10:28 p.m. I felt 9 vibrations.  Wearing this bracelet makes me feel like I have a broken ankle and I’m wearing a cast.  I am very sensitive to that area of my leg and at all cost try not to hit the area, remove my pants carefully and shower without having water hit the device directly.  I am nervous when I am around people and hear myself say ‘watch out’ or ‘don’t hit my leg’.  I am thankful my family is understanding and they just keep their distance!  I feel like I am marked for disaster wearing this bracelet.


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1 Comment

  • troy Reply

    Thank you for the story, almost identical to mine.

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