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NEWS

Short Update: 268 prisoners temporarily released and more than 3,600 prison sentences postponed in Germany

In order to relieve the German prison system during the COVID-19 crisis, many prisons in Hesse have released some of their prisoners until further notice. According to the Hessian Ministry of Justice, these releases applied to people who are serving a substitute prison sentence ("Ersatzfreiheitsstrafe"), for example because they cannot pay a fine. A spokesman for the Hessian Ministry of Justice said that a total of 268 prisoners had been released by 12 April 2020. Since mid-March, there were also no more imprisoned in the Gelnhausen youth detention facility.  The releases would not mean that the execution of the sentences was over, the spokesman explained.  

In more than 3,600 cases, the execution of prison sentences had been postponed, which again mainly concerned substitute prison sentences.  

Hesse's justice system has reacted to the COVID-19 crisis with a comprehensive pandemic plan. Among other things, protective masks are produced in the prisons and contact between prisoners is limited. Initially there was a strict ban on prison visits, which has been slightly eased. Under strict conditions of distance and hygiene closest relatives are allowed to visit prisoners. In addition, the educational institutions in the Hessian prisons are reopening. (see Welt, 30 May 2020 in German). 

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