logo: ELFUM

ELFUM - Electronic Monitoring as a resource for up-to-date prison management

During the last twelve years, the Austrian prison system was considerably overcrowded at times. Above all, this affects the inmates, but also prison staff. Considering these conditions, aggravated by a lack of resources, it appears difficult to fulfil the mandate of the prison system and to ensure security. Prison management as well as risk management become particularly important in situations like this.

In September 2010 Electronic Monitoring in connection with house arrest was introduced as a way of serving a prison sentence or part of a sentence in Austria. Thereby, the electronic tag became a tool for prison management as well as for risk management. Although the number of people with electronic tags has remained lower than expected so far, its use and its meaning for prison management are believed to have a potential for expansion. Based on experiences and results up to now, an expansion of Electronic Monitoring is believed to provide chances for positive effects on several sides: improvement of the overcrowding in prisons; through which resources may become available for qualitative improvements in the prison system, particularly for the prisoners; improvement of options with respect to prison management as well as risk management; house arrest with Electronic Monitoring means serving a sentence closer to freedom and closer to the outside world, which is believed to have positive effects on integration, without endangering the general public.

Deliberations regarding an expansion require up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge on current practice and results. However, the data necessary for the planning process has not been collected yet. In fact, the alleged or possible positive effects of Electronic Monitoring may not prove true when evaluated.

Aims and innovative content: Taking all of the points mentioned above into consideration, this research aims to,

  • elaborate up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge about qualities, chances, demands, conditions, limits as well as risks related to Electronic Monitoring and its expansion;
  • study Electronic Monitoring, especially as a tool or resource for up-to-date prison management. Thereby, the prison system as a whole will be considered.

Intended outcomes and findings: Immediate outcomes of the project will be reports on the work packages, which will contribute to the final findings feeding in the following perspectives and information: quantitative data on Electronic Monitoring in practice; international research outcomes as well as practical experiences from other European countries; client-centred insights; views of experts based on experience.

In the end, merging these parts shall create well-founded insights and recommendations which will be relevant for planning and development. The final part of the project will be to share these findings with practitioners.

This project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) as part of the Austrian Security Research Programme KIRAS.



Project Period

November 2017 to February 2019

Project Manager

Foto: Walter Hammerschick

Walter Hammerschick

Project Team

Veronika Hofinger

Executive Summary (german)

 Executive Summary  

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