Baden-Württemberg tests first ankle monitors for prisoners

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.

Baden-Württemberg tests first ankle monitors for prisoners
Photo: DPA

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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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.