The Justizwache (translated verbatim is "Justice Guard") is the prison guards corps of Austria. The corps is a department of the Ministry of Justice. Their task is the safeguarding of penitentiaries and theirs inmates and the security of the Courts in Austria. The Justizwache as well provides a special unit the Justizwache Einsatzgruppe (JEG) (German for: penitentiary police action team).
Form of OrganisationEdit
The penitentiary police is an uniformed security guard corps, organized in a military manner and provided with executive powers. This is according to § 13a of the Prisons Act. From the point of view of service and remuneration, they are equivalent unit to the Federal Police. In addition, the educational institution is the Strafvollzugsakademie (German for "penal system academy"), the penitentiary police academy.
The general equipment includes a truncheon (and as a special version, a tonfa baton) and a pepper spray MK-3. During the night service and, if necessary, the officials also carry the service pistol Glock 17. The assault rifle Steyr AUG A3 9mm, the tear gas gun, the tear gas atomizer and the pepper spray OJ 400a are among the weapons that must be specifically ordered.
In addition, the use of the electric shock gun Taser X26 in the Austrian prisons was temporarily permitted from 10 November 2004 to 20 February 2008, but after massive protests, the Minister of Justice resumed the use of the non lethal weapon. In June 2009 a new Minister of Justice allowed the use of the electric shock gut under particularly strict conditions again.
The members of the special unit JEG are also equipped with protective shields and helmets in addition to the tonfa baton, in order to be able to take additional protection when necessary.
The Justizwache corps badge shows the Austrian coat of arms, which is surrounded by a circular enclosure. It thus deviates only marginally from the corps badge of the Police, in which the Bundeswappen is surrounded by an oak leaf wreath.
Since 2010, the distinctions of the penitentiary police have been the same as those of the Federal Police.