• Germany edition
 
Prisoners threaten strikes over conditions
Photo: DPA

Prisoners threaten strikes over conditions

Published: 06 Dec 2012 09:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2012 09:07 GMT+01:00

In an open letter to the city state's justice minister Thomas Heilmann, prisoners from the jails in Tegel, Moabit and Charlottenburg called for the double occupancy of cells to end, and for those inside for non payment of fines to be moved out of high-security units.

The Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported on Wednesday that the letter, signed by various prisoner councils and the organisers of the Tegel prison newspaper, was headed, "Senator Heilmann - don't let the Berlin prisons land in the gutter!"

The paper said a major criticism from the prisoners was that the social service was so stretched that each social worker was responsible for the welfare and rehabilitation of up to 60 prisoners.

Heilmann's department said they would take a look at the complaints, while a spokeswoman told the Berliner Zeitung that the double-occupancy of cells had already been reversed, as the overcrowding situation had abated. That had only been a measure undertaken to prepare for the closure of another unit in the city.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper said the justice department had also said that the social services were well-staffed compared with other regions in the country.

A report by the National Agency for the Prevention of Torture which inspects prisons and other places where people are deprived of their liberty, criticised the state of many prisons in the capital in a report published in April.

Although there was no sign of torture, the agency said some areas were disgustingly unhygienic, describing foam mattresses as dirty and covered in dead insects. These hygiene problems were so bad they could be considered as compromising human dignity, the report said.

Prisoners who were under special observation were watched via cameras as they went to the toilet, which the agency said was unacceptable, calling for toilet areas to be pixillated on video. Cells were often criticised as too small or having too many people kept in them. Many had insufficient daylight and fresh air.

The agency was established to examine the conditions under which people are locked up, as part of the United Nations Convention against Torture.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:03 December 6, 2012 by jg.
it isn't supposed to be a holiday camp or a hotel. The idea is that being in prison isn't a lot of fun and people sent there would ideally choose not to come back again.
16:30 December 6, 2012 by Wrench
It's a shame when we treat prisoners better than retired people living in nursing homes. Maybe we should turn that around.
Today's headlines
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,524
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd