Criticism of earlier prison leave for serious criminals

Criticism of earlier prison leave for serious criminals

The german police union (dpolg) and the police union (gdp) spoke of an experiment at the expense of security and on the backs of the citizens. The federation of germany’s prison employees said the plans were a "mockery of the victims. So far, the first period of parole is possible after ten years; brandenburg and some other states want to shorten the period to five years.

The unions refer to a proposal that is supported in particular by brandenburg’s justice minister volkmar schoneburg (left). Ten federal states agreed in september to relax the penal system. A corresponding draft model is to form the basis for legislation in the individual countries. However, it is up to the countries themselves to decide which formulations of the model text they want to adopt in their respective laws. As long as the states do not have their own laws, a federal law continues to apply, according to which offenders sentenced to life imprisonment can get leave after ten years in prison.

Dpolg boss rainer wendt told the "bild" newspaper (tuesday): "to let serious criminals loose on citizens again after a very short time is scandalous and would be a dangerous experiment on the backs of the citizens."Gdp chairman bernhard witthaut said: "a so-called long-term exit after five years of imprisonment has severely shaken the citizens’ sense of justice."Witthaut expressed the suspicion that overcrowding in many prisons and the shortage of correctional staff could be a motive for the rush. "For cost reasons, however, the population must not be exposed to any increased danger."

Brandenburg’s justice minister schoneburg rejected the criticism. The constitution requires that rehabilitation be pursued even in the case of serious offenders, the left-wing politician told the dpa news agency. "Security and resocialization – and resocialization includes the loosening of prison sentences – must not be played off against each other."

Other states, such as berlin and bavaria, reject easing of prison sentences after five years. North rhine-westphalia also goes its own way.

In bavaria, offenders sentenced to life imprisonment can only apply for parole after twelve years. Justice minister beate merk (CSU) said: "for us, victim protection always takes precedence over offender protection. And it is not at all compatible with the protection of potential victims when a man sentenced to life imprisonment is on the loose again after only five years."Merks argument: after five years, offenders sentenced to life imprisonment still had at least ten – in bavaria an average of 15 years – ahead of them. "Anyone can figure out that the danger of flight is simply too great," said merk.

On the other hand, thuringia’s justice minister holger poppenhager (SPD) does not rule out earlier prison leave for serious criminals in principle. He pointed out on tuesday, however, that this did not mean unaccompanied release.

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