Electronic ankle cuffs

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Electronic ankle cuff with base station in France

The electronic ankle cuff (technically electronic supervision ) is a device for monitoring a person's stay , which is attached to one of their two ankles .

Electronic ankle cuffs in Sweden
Electronic ankle cuffs in California , USA


The electronic ankle cuff is equipped with a transmitter that is in constant radio contact with a base station . If the station does not receive a signal because the transmitter is out of range or has been destroyed, it reports the alarm to the supervising authority via the telephone network. When using a mobile phone-connected electronic ankle cuff, the location of the affected person can be monitored and controlled around the clock. The daily routine of the handcuffed person is specified in advance in a weekly schedule. If there are error messages, the monitored person is contacted, who then has to justify himself. In the case of frequent or serious violations, probation can be revoked or an arrest warrant can be re-enforced.

As part of its pilot project, France limited the use of the ankle cuffs to six months because after this time the first mental failures can be observed. The reason for this is that no direct, physically perceptible pressure from the outside (through walls, bars, security guards, etc.) is exerted on the wearer. Instead, the convict has to discipline himself. For him there is only the much more abstract threat that the police will "catch" him again after a violation. The convict has to put the pressure on himself. There are now relevant experiences with the ankle cuff from the USA. According to this, a prison stay costs the US taxpayer an average of 35 US dollars per day and inmate, while the ankle cuff costs an average of 7 dollars per day and monitored. With the ankle cuff, rehabilitation rates of over 70% are achieved.

In the USA, a variant of the ankle cuff is now also used to enforce cease and desist orders: People who are not allowed to get closer than a certain distance to another person's place of residence receive an ankle cuff and a suitable transmitter box for a certain period of time. These convicts are still allowed to move freely. However, if the ankle cuff is more than a few dozen meters away from the box or if the GPS- equipped transmitter comes too close to the forbidden “destination”, an alarm is triggered.

Another variant has been tried in the USA since 2007: The ankle cuff contains a sensor with skin contact. This continuously checks whether the carrier has alcohol in the blood . With this remedy, offenders who have committed their crimes under the influence of alcohol are to be brought to abstinence .


In Germany, the law thus designated is E lectronic A ufenthalts above sea monitoring ( EAÜ ) in the vernacular mostly electronic ankle bracelet called.


An example of the application of the EAÜ was a Hessian pilot project in which the ankle cuff has been used since 2000 as part of the monitoring of compliance with the conditions of probation , to avert revocation of probation, in the run-up to a pardon or to avoid pre- trial detention. In the German-language literature, the electronic ankle cuff was initially referred to as electronically monitored house arrest , although those who are monitored are obliged to leave their home in order to either do wage work or the requirements of community service or other meaningful occupations. Baden-Württemberg was the first federal state to plan a state law regulation from 2008 .

Current regulation

Criminal sanction

After 1 January 2011 newly inserted § 68b para. 1 sentence 1 no. 12 and Clause 3 and 4 of the Criminal Code , the court, the convicted person for the duration of the supervision of conduct instruct or for a shorter time for an electronic monitor their whereabouts to keep the necessary technical equipment with you in an operational state at all times and not to impair their functionality.

The EAÜ sets u. a. ahead,

  • that a sentence of at least two years fully enforced or that the execution of a measure such as the preventive detention has already occurred and that also
  • there is still a risk of serious criminal offenses, in particular violent and sexual offenses.

On August 29, 2011, the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Baden-Württemberg signed the “ State Treaty on the Establishment of a Joint Monitoring Center (GÜL) for electronic shackles”, which Hesse and Bavaria had already ratified in May 2011. The State Treaty entered into force on January 1, 2012. On December 29, 2012, the state of Brandenburg also acceded to the state treaty. All other countries have now joined the State Treaty. The GÜL was based in the former district court of Bad Vilbel in Hesse until 2017 . Today the monitoring is carried out by the GÜL employees in a high-security wing of the Weiterstadt correctional facility .

In April 2015, 76 people with electronic ankle cuffs were monitored by the GÜL in Germany, 57 of them for a sexual offense and 19 for a violent offense.

If the ankle cuffs are destroyed or the control area is left, the GÜL triggers a corresponding alarm.

Security measure

In 2017, the grand coalition passed a restructuring of the Federal Criminal Police Office Act (BKAG), which among other things makes it possible to put so-called endangered persons in an ankle cuff. A public hearing of experts was held by the Interior Committee of the Bundestag on March 20, 2017. The draft law was passed in the Bundestag on April 27, 2017. Section 20z BKAG came into force on June 9, 2017 ( Section 56 BKAG since May 2018 ). Up until October 24, 2017, the BKA had not applied for an ankle cuff either for one of the 705 Islamist threats or for one of the 428 “relevant persons in the Islamist spectrum”.

An example of a state police regulation is Art. 34 PAG .

Discussed expansion

The use of shackles on convicts has been discussed for a number of years because prisons are overcrowded. The electronic ankle cuff is propagated by its advocates as an alternative to imprisonment . Moreover, the use of electronic ankle bracelet is for such people in the discussion, the preventive detention by the recent case law of the ECHR has become inadmissible.

In most of the user countries, the prisons have not been emptied as a result of the measure; rather, electronic monitoring has created a new area between imprisonment and suspended sentences. The electronic shackle makes it possible to punish family-bound, working first-time offenders noticeably, without exposing them to the danger of criminogenic socialization by being in prison .

According to a draft law of the Federal Government from March 2017, the possibility of an EAÜ for the purpose of conduct supervision is to be extended to extremist offenders.


Following a change in the law, since September 2010 criminal detention can be carried out under certain circumstances in the form of electronically monitored house arrest . For electronic supervision (EA) shackles come of the Israeli manufacturer Elmo-Tech applied. These are leased. Monitoring is via a radio link to a station, which in turn docks to the monitoring system via GSM or a landline line. The person being monitored pays the daily costs of € 5 for the technology with € 22 per day and supports the Neustart association, which takes care of the outdoors, with the rest . 500 shackles are planned, in a few days around 100 applications were received from prisoners. The first person who was granted an electronic ankle bracelet was a 45-year-old Carinthian whose sentence - ended in June 2011 and the already - because of a property offense Freigängerin to a job was, they had even worried from prison out.

The application is made in the case of criminal detention in the responsible prison or prison and in the case of custody at the responsible court.

The application can also be made with few or no documents, as you get an order to bring in the necessary documents from Neustart. In any case, execution is suspended while the application is being reviewed.


With the revision of criminal law, the electronic ankle cuff has been possible as a substitute for imprisonment since January 1, 2015. Electronic surveillance has been approved on a trial basis since 1999; the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Baselland, Vaud, Bern, Ticino, Geneva and Solothurn took part in this trial.

Other countries

The measure is known internationally as electronic monitoring and is marketed as a product by the provider companies under this name. In Europe, the electronic ankle cuff is used nationwide in France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Poland.


  • Achim Brauneisen: The electronic monitoring of the whereabouts as a new instrument of command supervision. Defense lawyer (StV) 2011, 311 ( PDF ).
  • Michael Lindenberg: Goods punishment. Electronic surveillance and commercialization of criminal control . AG Spak, Bremen 1997, ISBN 3-930830-06-X .
  • Markus Mayer: Model project electronic ankle cuffs . Scientific findings on the model phase of the Hessian project. Freiburg 2004, p. 27 ( markus-mayer-info.de [PDF; accessed on January 7, 2013] Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law : forschung aktuell, research in brief, no. 23).
  • Matthias Niedzwicki: Electronic shackles - restriction of freedom according to Art. 2 II S. 2 GG or deprivation of liberty according to Art. 104 GG? In: Niedersächsische Verwaltungsblätter (10/2005), Journal for Public Law and Public Administration, pp. 257–260.
  • Gudrun Hochmayr: Electronically monitored house arrest. Regarding the regulation in Germany and Austria. , Journal for International Criminal Law Dogmatics (ZIS) 11/2012, 537 ( online PDF; 121 kB).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Wenzel: This is how electronic ankle cuffs work . In: Berliner Morgenpost . August 7, 2010, p. 3 ( online [accessed July 13, 2015]).
  2. Electronic house arrest in prison - Baden-Württemberg State Cabinet adopts draft law. (No longer available online.) In: Internet homepage of the Ministry of Justice Baden-Württemberg. November 18, 2008, archived from the original on December 8, 2015 ; Retrieved December 4, 2015 .
  3. Federal Law Gazette 2010 I, 2300
  4. Stephan Beukelmann: Electronic ankle fetters , New Legal Weekly Special 20/2011, 632
  5. Joint electronic monitoring center of the federal states | Hessian Ministry of Justice. Retrieved July 10, 2017 .
  6. Announcement of the entry into force of the State Treaty on the establishment of a joint electronic monitoring center of the states in the Law and Ordinance Gazette of North Rhine-Westphalia (GV. NRW.), Edition 2012 No. 10 of April 30, 2012, pp. 165–176 ( online ) .
  7. https://www.dw.com/de/deutschlands-fußfessel-zentrale-in-einem-gefänger-in-weiterstadt-zur-vergleich-von-verbindern/a-47273489
  8. Press release: "Positive balance drawn for the joint electronic surveillance agency of the federal states" Website Hessian Ministry of Justice, April 16, 2015, accessed on April 17, 2015
  9. BGBl. 2017 I p. 1354
  10. ^ Draft of a law to restructure the Federal Criminal Police Office Act . In: KriPoZ . 2nd February 2017.
  11. Hearing on ankle shackles for those at risk, press release of the German Bundestag from March 14, 2017.
  12. n-tv.de: Bundestag resolves security package, ankle shackles for those at risk come
  13. Reiko Pinkert, Ronen Steinke: Security Policy: Hardly anyone at risk wears an electronic ankle cuff SZ , October 25, 2017
  14. Frank Pergande: Electronic ankle cuffs, premium for the life partner , in FAZ from June 29, 2011 ( online ).
  15. Tatjana Bojic in Westfälischer Anzeiger of October 2, 2010, p. 2.
  16. ↑ Draft law of the federal government to amend the penal code - expansion of the right to measure extremist offenders , BT-Drs. 18/11584 of March 20, 2017
  17. Alexander Baur: Statement on the Federal Government's draft law to expand electronic residence surveillance to include extremist criminals as part of the KriPoZ conduct supervision, March 23, 2017. PDF version.
  18. "Little use in custody" ORF online, September 20, 2010
  19. Monitor criminals across Switzerland. Electronic ankle cuffs are a long time coming. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung from January 6, 2015.
  20. Electronic shackles are becoming commonplace in Switzerland , SRF Tagesschau from September 25, 2013 [1] .
  21. Electronic shackles in use for the first time . In: Southeastern Switzerland . October 2, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2015., p. 6.
  22. Tatjana Bojic (dpa): Model project: Southwest: First prisoners get ankle shackles . In: Badische Zeitung . October 1, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2015.