Admin l Friday, December 16, 2022
BERLIN – Once again, hundreds of German inmates have been released prematurely as a gesture of goodwill ahead of Christmas, according to a survey by dpa of the country’s state Justice Ministries.
The most prisoners – 291 – were allowed to leave in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is also the country’s most populous.
The total of 1,056 inmates released prematurely this year is a significant increase compared to 2022, when a little more than 800 prisoners were granted early freedom ahead of Christmas.
As in previous years, Bavaria is the only one among Germany’s 16 states that doesn’t participate in the so-called Christmas amnesty.
The Christmas amnesty is intended to give prisoners who will be released around the turn of the year in any case a nice holiday and enable them to take advantage of assistance services and counselling centres before they go on Christmas break.
However, there are also prisoners who refuse early release and prefer to spend Christmas in prison. Most of the time, prisoners are released days, not months, early. Only prisoners who have not attracted negative attention in prison and have not had to serve a long prison sentence are eligible for release.
As the survey showed, at least 160 offenders have already been released early from prison in Berlin, while in Baden-Wuerttemberg in the south-west, some 200 prisoners were released early this year, the respective Justice Ministries announced.