Berlin opens first prison for persons in preventive detention

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Sat 6th Feb, 2021

Berlin was the first German state to establish an open prison for persons in preventive detention. Two detainees have now moved into the building directly next to the wall of the Tegel correctional facility (JVA). This was confirmed by justice spokesman Sebastian Brux to the Tagesspiegel.

The renovated building in front of the correctional facility has eight regular places. 52 preventive detainees continue to be housed in the closed area. Most of them are sex offenders or multiple offenders of particularly serious crimes against life.

There had previously been fierce protests by residents against the planned open detention facility. Thousands of people signed a petition to this effect, and the CDU voted against the project together with the AfD in the Reinickendorf district council.

However, open enforcement is also prescribed by law for persons in preventive detention, but so far no federal state had implemented this. "We assume that other states will follow suit," says justice spokesman Brux.

The justice administration is working to ease such concerns for residents. "If a court orders preventive detention following a prison sentence, that in no way means that this person is then 'locked away' forever," Brux says. "Rather, preventive detention must be regularly reviewed by expert opinions and the courts." He says it therefore makes sense to prepare those in preventive detention for life after their sentence - open detention is intended to be another stage for this.

Brux emphasizes that placement outside prison walls is only for "extremely carefully selected individuals." They would have years of therapy behind them and already benefit from other relaxations.

The two detainees who are now moving to the open prison system would already have the status of being allowed to leave the prison unaccompanied anyway. "The vast majority of male preventive detainees housed at JVA Tegel remain in closed custody," Brux clarifies.

Since 2015, a total of 16 persons in preventive detention have been released. One of them reoffended. This is Bernd R., who was only released due to a serious miscarriage of justice and without the necessary therapeutic support.

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