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Justice minster rejects outing sex offenders as post-jail regime still unclear

The Local · 20 Jul 2011, 10:39

Published: 20 Jul 2011 10:39 GMT+02:00

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Politicians are due to meet next month to discuss a set of suggestions of how to deal with criminals who have served their prison sentences but are considered to pose a continuing threat to the public, after Germany's high court ruled that so-called preventive detention was unconstitutional.

The idea is to replace the ‘pure’ version of preventive detention with a therapy-based ‘treatment detention’.

In a serious split between the German Police Union (DPolG) and the ministry, the union’s chairman Rainer Wendt criticised Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger personally, for going on holiday rather than staying at work to solve the preventive detention problem.

The Constitutional Court ruled in May that the practice of keeping dangerous criminals in prison after their original sentences are served could not be continued, backing a previous ruling from the European Court of Human Rights which said in January that the German system breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Politicians have been given until the end of May 2013 to set up a new system, while those criminals held under current rules must be released unless there is a very high risk they will commit serious violent or sexual crimes.

Wendt told the Passauer Neue Presse that the minister responsible was going on holiday while released criminals were able to attack children.

“Things are being endlessly debated and argued and the victims are left with nothing. I have no understanding for the blockade of the FDP,” he said, referring to Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s Free Democratic Party.

Police forces are under enormous pressure to protect the public from the violent and sexual criminals being released – often setting four or five officers to follow them at close quarters around the clock. This practice is also controversial, with critics saying it effectively identifies the criminals, who have served their sentences, and quashes any realistic chance they may have of rehabilitating.

Wendt said this cost enormous amounts of police manpower and that it was up to politicians to solve the problem. He repeated his demand for sex criminals and their location to be identified online.

“Parents must be able to protect their children,” he said, while dismissing any fears of vigilante justice.

But Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said there was no way such a scheme would be adopted in Germany. “Public pillories are not compatible with the rule of law,” she said.

“It does not help to prevent violence if neighbours raise a group against a released prisoner.” She said this would only create even more work for the police.

She said the government and the federal states would work quickly to agree new regulations for dangerous criminals, suggesting that the two-year window set by the constitutional court would be more than enough time.

Story continues below…

The other police union, the Union of Police (GdP), has taken a more measured tone, but also warned that released criminals could leave the country for elsewhere in Europe, where German police would no longer be able to shadow them.

Bernhard Witthaut, head of the GdP said the idea of using electronic tags as suggested by several federal states was an instrument rather than a solution.

“They do not prevent a single crime,” he said, suggesting that the monitoring centre where signals from the tags are overseen, do not have information about who is attached to the tags. He said the data can only be given to the police after a crime has been committed.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:28 July 20, 2011 by BrainWave19
But exposing the sex-crime offenders would prevent them from doing it the next time as susceptible and gulllible youngsters would be aware and be cautious of such sick people moving around. Eventually there would be a reduction of the crime.
17:47 July 20, 2011 by storymann
Exposing sex offenders that have previously violated or attempted to violate children is in the public's interest, as no one in the medical or criminal justice system can say this individual is now safe around your children. These monsters should be made public.
18:53 July 20, 2011 by Scuba Steve
The safety of children must outweigh the "Rights" of these sick people. Personally, I'd have it tattooed on their foreheads....Nuff said...
19:52 July 20, 2011 by crm114
very sensible decision. There is no great body of evidence to suggest that this tactic would in anyway serve to reduce offending, the majority of offences occur within the family and many offenders are themselves victims. The problem is in the mind and there is no easy solution, if anything it could be counter productive preventing people from seeking help and playing into the hands of the baying mob. Good job Germany has no paediatricians.
23:43 July 20, 2011 by estrinyefim
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
02:04 July 21, 2011 by Gretl
estrinyefim - porn possession is only against the law if it is child pornorgraphy. Did you forget that detail? Yes, you are considered a sex offender, a pedophile, even though you may not have abused the child yourself. You contributed to demand.

In the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, sex-offender's names and pictures are published in the news paper everytime they move to a new residence as a warning to the neighbors. The information is also available on-line. Our area was a dumping ground for sex-offenders released from McNeil Island prison. We had 20 registered sex offenders in a 1 km radius around our home. Children regularly disappear. There should be no discussion regarding the "rights" of convicted felons versus the rights of society to live in safety. Murderers are less likely to reoffend than pedophiles. You can't cure them. They should be treated like the dangerous predators that they are.
05:54 July 21, 2011 by estrinyefim

I may suggest just one thing, a simple law: put all sex offenders on island lifetime.

You think you will stop sex crimes? Never

90% -95% of all sex crimes are committed first timers, people never published on sex offender registry. This is information from DOJ web site

You are not thinking rationally, sorry. Just like perverted justice people

War on sex offenders is declared already by US government.

I hope Germany will not copy USA Laws

Again educate yourself
17:45 July 21, 2011 by Illinois Voices
Laws regarding sex offenders have been enacted on public hysteria. The media has taken a particular interest in portraying sex offenders as predators who will inevitably reoffend, despite modern research suggesting otherwise. The media has played a large role in perpetuating the persona of sex offenders as ¦quot;uncontrollable monsters.¦quot; When a particularly heinous sex crime occurs (a child is abducted, sexually assaulted, or brutally murdered), the media focuses on that story with around the clock coverage for weeks, sometimes months, following the crime. Current laws are over-broad, over-inclusive, and do not distinguish between violent sex offenders and non-violent persons charged with sexually based crimes. Applying tough sanctions without regard to the actual danger posed by all convicted offenders actually makes us less safe. It is a false assumption that sex offender recidivism rates are high. It is also a myth that the majority of sex crimes are committed by convicted or registered sex offenders. Education is key. Don¦#39;t be too quick to judge . . . you could be the next ¦quot;sex offender¦quot; in your neighborhood. ilvoices
07:14 July 23, 2011 by estrinyefim
I do not understand why my comment was removed. Why you all so scared.

I just described situaTION IN FORMER ussr AND COMPARED IT WITH USA
09:46 July 24, 2011 by heyheyhey
@Illinois Voices.........perhaps we should discuss some facts, such as the average numbers of child victims that any pedophile typically has prior to his first arrest. Then you can argue that these same people are not reoffending. If a typical pedophile has 100 victims prior to the first arrest, it will seem as if he isn't reoffending for many years when in actuality, we aren't finding out about his second batch of victims.

Pedophiles reoffend at alarming rates.
06:24 August 1, 2011 by mudkip1
@heyheyhey These are not facts at all, just taking stats from the worst of the worst and applying them to all sex offenders. Disinformation like this is why people are so up in arms about sex offenders when they in reality they have something like a 5.3% chance to re-offend, lower than all other crimes besides murder.
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