Baden-Württemberg tests first ankle monitors for prisoners

Baden-Württemberg tests first ankle monitors for prisoners
Photo: DPA
Six inmates in Baden-Württemberg began wearing electronic ankle bracelets on Friday to launch the first such monitoring programme for prisoners in Germany, according to a state justice ministry spokesman.

In total, 25 paroled inmates and 25 prisoners preparing for release will be permitted to work while wearing the devices, which are capable of accurately tracking the wearer to the nearest metre. A spokesman for Baden-Württemberg’s state justice minister Ulrich Goll said the anklets would also ensure that inmates do not enter prohibited areas.

In order to be considered for the programme, participants must have both a residence and job.

“The cuffs are designed to hide under the leg of the pant so they’re not noticeable in day-to-day life,” Goll said. “That ensures that the test subjects won’t be stigmatised.”

The miniature tracking devices weigh about 170 grams each and are slightly larger than a mobile phone and about as wide as a watchband.

In Europe, Britain, France, Switzerland and Sweden already use electronic anklets for criminal offenders, and the practice is widespread in the United States, where various technologies are used to monitor some 200,000 defendants and convicts under “house arrest.”

The German state of Hesse has been using the cuffs over the past decade – but for those serving suspended sentences, not prisoners.

One of the inmates to wear the ankle monitor under the current test is a 47-year-old from the Stuttgart area who was convicted of property-related crimes. The project will allow him to continue to work as a sales consultant for a prefabricated housing company.

The state justice ministry estimated the total cost of the project to be €150,000.

“The ankle cuff means improved chances of resocialisation for those involved and lower costs for the state,” Goll said.


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