Germany: neither incarcerated nor free

A confinement that dares not speak its name: deprivation of liberty in a psycho-legal hospital

The German prison population has been decreasing since 2004. The number of people deprived of their liberty, on the other hand, does not follow this trend. There are indeed nearly 13,000 of them detained in forensic psychiatric hospitals. These hospitals house people who have committed an offence and who are forced to undergo a “treatment order”. Confinement often stretches out over time, sometimes lasting more than ten years.

Pascal Décarpes is a criminologist and researcher. He works for the ​German National Agency for the Prevention of Torture (Nationale Stelle zur Verhütung von Folter). Prison Insider asked him three questions.

We wait until people are physically no longer capable of being dangerous. Only then do we agree to release them.