Bavaria is expanding its drone defense in prisons. The Amberg correctional facility in Upper Palatinate is receiving a drone detection system that costs around 600,000 euros and is designed to detect objects in flight as early as possible. The system is currently still being installed, said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice in Munich. The drone defense system introduced in Bavarian prisons last autumn has still not been used. Since the installation, two drones have been sighted by prison employees, the spokeswoman said: One of them flew out of range of the launch system. The other flew over a prison that did not receive any of the so-called dropster launchers for the drones. A net is shot down in which the drone gets caught and crashes.
In the pilot project, which cost around 75,000 euros, eight of the 36 Bavarian penal institutions were equipped with a total of 15 of these launching devices in mid-October 2020. Until its launch, 57 drones had been sighted on the premises or in the immediate vicinity of Bavarian prisons since 2015. In two cases, according to the Ministry of Justice, drones were used to smuggle cell phones and drugs into a prison. Both attempts failed.
Without a doubt, drones could pose a significant threat to the security of correctional facilities, said the ministry spokeswoman. These could not only bring drugs, weapons or other dangerous items onto the premises. Drones could also film the prisoners without permission and thus violate personal rights. “The number of drones in prisons is rising continuously, they are a security risk. With the new defense system we can use a safety net to bring drones down in a targeted manner,” said Bavaria’s Justice Minister Georg Eisenreich when the project was presented a year ago. In addition to drone defense, the Bavarian justice system uses translucent grids to prevent objects from being delivered from the air. In addition, the prison staff in the Free State are specially trained.