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Finland introduces electronic tracking of prisoners

As of Tuesday, judges can allow convicts to wear electronic ankle bracelets to serve short sentences at home instead of going to jail. Officials say electronic monitoring allows offenders to do something productive while serving their debt to society.

Valvontaan käytettävä panta nilkkaan kiinnitettynä
Image: YLE

But this does not mean that convicted offenders are free to move around as they please—they must abide by strict schedules. Breaking curfew sets off an alarm and may land the convict behind bars.

Jail time can be replaced by electronic monitoring in sentences up to six months. The move will help, for instance, young men who refuse military conscription or corresponding civilian service to avoid jail by putting them under house arrest.

The new law will bring significant savings for the state, as home detention carries one third of the cost of a regular prison term. Neighbouring Sweden has used similar monitoring devices for nearly two decades. Some 40,000 convicts have used the system there.

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