Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents


Penal System

All prisons from local jails to maximum security institutions are regulated by the Ministry for Interior. Revisions to penal statutes adopted in 1967 emphasize rehabilitation, education, work, prison wages, and assistance to prisoners on their return to society. Programs stress the humane treatment and rehabilitation of inmates, but program implementation is often inhibited by restricted prison budgets and lack of facilities.

Regulations stipulate that all able-bodied prisoners will be put to useful work. If proceeds from an individual's work exceed the cost to the state of his maintenance, the prisoner is paid a wage. Part can be used for pocket money, and the remainder is paid to the offender after release. Where facilities are inadequate or the situation justifies work or education beyond what is available on the prison grounds, those not considered dangerous or likely to attempt to escape can work or attend classes in the nearby area.

The penal system in Austria includes seven penitentiaries (Garsten, Graz, Hertenberg, Schwarzau, Stein, Suben, and ViennaSimmering ); three institutions of justice; two special institutions; and eighteen jails at the seats of courts of first instance. In spite of the rising crime rate, the prison population fell steadily from 7,795 in 1987 to 5,975 at the end of 1989. The average prison population of 6,318 in 1988 was composed of 6,054 males and 264 females. The rate of incarceration was seventy-seven per 100,000 population, typical for Europe as a whole but higher than some Scandinavian countries. Those on supervised probation numbered 4,930--2,762 adults and 2,168 juveniles.

The number held in investigative detention also declined, from 1,666 in 1987 to 1,466 in late 1989. This reduction was attributed to implementation in 1988 of the law easing the requirements for conditional release. According to Austrian authorities, the number of detainees had been reduced to a level corresponding to the European average.

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Much of the information in the foregoing chapter on the Austrian Army's strength and equipment is based on The Military Balance, 1993-1994. Under the heading "JDW Country Survey: Austria" in Jane's Defence Weekly, several articles describe the New Army Structure plan of the defense establishment, with charts showing the proposed organizational pattern. The concepts underlying Austria's defense policies prior to the New Army Structure are set forth in "Defense Policy from the Austrian Point of View" by Emil Spannocchi. Detail on the army's structure, weaponry, and strategic plans as of 1986 is included in Friedrich Wiener's Die Armeen der neutralen und blockfreien Staaten Europas.

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices produced by the United States Department of State summarizes the operation of the criminal justice system and the internal security agencies. Das grosse Buch der Polizei und Gendarmerie in Österreich by Friedrich Jäger gives an account of the functioning of the various police organizations from the Middle Ages to the present day. (For further information and complete

Data as of December 1993