ERAM Plans to Cut Repeat Incarceration

Ventures interns Jake Laird and Luke Metzger created smartphone-compatible apps for ERAM

Ventures interns Jake Laird and Luke Metzger created smartphone-compatible apps for ERAM, making the remote-monitoring technology less expensive and easier to use.

If your smartphone starts screaming like a hungry baby, you know ERAM is calling.

ERAM, Electronic Remote Accountability Monitoring, is a smartphone-compatible mobile app that allows probation officers and behavioral health professionals to remotely check compliance with a judge’s or doctor’s orders. It temporarily gives monitoring agents the ability to control another person’s smartphone camera and microphone, so agents can verify a person is drug free or taking medications as required. When ERAM becomes active on a smartphone, the device emits the inescapable sound of an infant crying, alerting the participant that a test is ready to be administered.

Because ERAM works remotely, it’s much cheaper and far less time consuming than sending caseworkers to peoples’ homes or requiring them to show up for appointments. It also allows more frequent monitoring, which could greatly reduce the chances that someone on probation will relapse or reoffend, says Jake Hillgoth, vice president of marketing and sales for ERAM.

Once activated, ERAM provides a one-on-one video conversation with a trained ERAM specialist who verifies medications are being taken and who can conduct field sobriety checks through rapid eye monitoring techniques.

“We are dedicated to reducing recidivism,” Hillgoth says. With a nationwide opioid epidemic and lack of resources available to monitor sobriety and medication daily, ERAM provides agencies with another tool to heighten accountability for those struggling with sobriety or noncompliance, he says.

ERAM, based in Evansville, has been operating in Indiana and other states for several years, but only recently decided to switch from using a dedicated cellphone for ERAM communications to a mobile app compatible with any smartphone. The company turned to Ventures to make this happen.

“I can’t say enough about the professionalism of the Ventures team,” Hillgoth says. “Whatever situation came up, they dug deep to find solutions.”

Currently, ERAM is based in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, but, as more local governments and health care organizations adopt the system, ERAM is expected to become a job creator across the state, Hillgoth says. 

“We anticipate generating a lot of employment as our service grows,” he says.