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Regarding “electronic shackles” in Austria

What is understood in everyday language by the term “electronic shackles” is regulated by the Law on the Penal System (StGV) under the heading of “enforcing a sentence by means of electronically monitored house arrest”. Since 1 September 2010 convicts can, under certain statutorily laid down conditions, serve their sentence by way of electronically monitored house arrest. This constitutes an option for executing the sentence outside the prison, and thus promoting the social rehabilitation of the offender.

Convicts can stay in their own accommodation, instead of in the prison, and take up “suitable employment”. They must, however, in the process, be monitored by suitable means of electronic supervision, namely by wearing so-called “shackles”, to the extent that is necessary in order to achieve the punitive purpose. An attendant can also be provided for this purpose.

Prior to imprisonment, or during the process of a prison sentence being enforced, an application for electronically monitored house arrest may be filed. The decision on the latter is taken by the head of the prison that falls within the jurisdiction of the District Court where the convict’s accommodation is to be found.

An application for electronically monitored house arrest may, pursuant to Sec. 156(c) (1)(4) StGV, only be approved on the following conditions:

  • No longer than 12 months’ penalty time still to be served may exist.
  • The applicant must be in possession of suitable accommodation within the country, have a suitable job, and have health insurance and accident insurance, and be paid an income with which he or she can make a living.
  • In addition, the written consent of the people living in the joint household with him or her must exist.
  • In addition, after examining the living conditions, the social environment and any risk factors have been examined, as well as compliance with the conditions (as cited above), it will need to be unlikely that the applicant will abuse the form of sentence.

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