Germany: "Security retention" is outlawed
5 May 2011
Seldom has the Süddeutsche Zeitung welcomed with such enthusiasm a decision by the German Constitutional Court: "Security retention is unconstitutional," exults the Munich daily. On May 4, the judges terminated “by a landmark decision" the doctrine of "confinement – and for ever" of prisoners considered dangerous even after they have served their sentences. This doctrine, in force for ten years, has brought a lot of criticism down on Germany from the European Court of Human Rights. The Constitutional Court has now formulated a new approach to detention, one which obliges the state to take all possible measures from the commencement of detention to reintegrate inmates into society (taking into account vocational training, family contacts, psycho-social therapy). “One rarely meets with such a detailed decision from Karlsruhe [seat of the Constitutional Court], with such sharp suspicion of law-makers, with such precise balancing between freedom and security,” writes the paper. The court, the paper concludes, “rejected the idea that judicial policy can be made up of tavern talk."