• Germany's news in English

Politicians call for secure homes for child criminals

DDP/The Local · 25 Jul 2010, 11:55

Published: 25 Jul 2010 11:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The debate was sparked by a number of well-publicised arrests of child drug dealers in Berlin – children barely in their teenage years who are being used and abused by drug-dealing gangs.

One 11-year-old was found three times within a week, selling heroin at a Berlin underground train station.

A 13-year-old who was caught doing the same thing and taken to an emergency children's home Kindernotdienst left shortly afterwards and is at large somewhere in the city.

Such youngsters are attractive to the gangs precisely because being under 14 means they cannot be arrested, nor charged with crimes – and their young age makes them vulnerable to bullying and manipulation.

Although they are housed in homes designed for orphans, or institutions set up by child emergency services, they cannot be held there and often just walk out – back into the influence of the gangs.

“Such children must be accommodated in closed, secure institutions in order to remove them from the criminal circles to which they keep returning from the open institutions,” said Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann of the Christian Social Union.

He said the aim was to protect the children from criminal gangs who use them as drug dealers and thieves because they are not yet legally deemed criminally responsible.

His plea was echoed by his counterpart in Lower Saxony, Uwe Schünemann, from the Christian Democratic Union. “If it enables us to prevent young people becoming criminals, or becoming anchored in these criminal careers, then it is an important step towards a safer society,” he said.

A spokesman for Berlin’s interior minister Ehrhard Körting, from the Social Democratic Party, also agreed. “Homes where the children can come and go as they please are completely pointless,” he said.

“Yacht cruises and youth community houses are no use,” said Reinhard Grindel, CDU parliamentary party interior policy expert. He said secure institutions would be better where the young perpetrators could be counselled around the clock by experienced social workers.

Story continues below…

Such institutions are the only answer, agreed Konrad Freiberg, head of the police trade union.

Yet according to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, there are only five such homes in the whole country, and places at them are therefore rare and difficult to get.

Meanwhile the head of the criminological institute in Lower Saxony Christian Pfeiffer criticised the calls from politicians as populist knee-jerk reactions, saying that the idea of secure institutions are not supported by social scientists.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd