Data Shows American And British Prisoners Locked Up In Germany Enjoy The Comforts Of German Jail

| by Jonathan Wolfe

If you’re going to do something dumb and get thrown in jail, you might want to consider heading to Germany to do it.

A recent report from The Local shows an interesting trend seen in German prisons. Dozens of America and British prisoners arrested in Germany each year are opting to serve their prison sentences abroad rather than transfer to prisons in their home land.

Carolina Oshewsky, president of prisoner support charity Prisoners Abroad, says living conditions in German prisons are observably more comfortable than in their American and British counterparts.

“Conditions in German prisons vary from category to category but we wouldn’t have huge concerns about conditions in German prisons compared to some of the other places we work,” Oshewsky said.

Prisoners Abroad Head of Press William Gatward agrees with his colleague’s assessment.

“British prisoners comment that conditions in German prisons are of a high standard,” Gatward said. “Inmates are provided with three meals a day, are allowed to exercise and have an opportunity to work and earn money. They can also learn new skills and languages.”

Some in Germany question whether the country is offering too plush of a lifestyle to inmates. Nationwide debate was sparked earlier this year with opening of Heidering prison, a facility that was nicknamed the “five star slammer” by critical residents. Heidering features art decorated walls, elevators, and state-of-the art sports facilities for inmates.

In an interview with DW Online, German criminologist Frieder Dunkel explained his countries philosophy on what prison conditions should be like for inmates.  He said the main purpose of a prison is to shield society from criminals and criminal activity, but that doesn’t mean inmates should live in dire conditions while incarcerated.

"It is not, after all, that penal conditions are supposed to be as inhuman or dark and unfriendly as possible,” Dunkel said. “People have to be treated in such a way that they will be motivated to lead a clean life.” 

Sources: The Local, DW