11.12.2021 – 02:00
Hall / MZ (ots)
Saxony-Anhalt’s penal system for addicts and mentally ill offenders suffers from dramatic overcrowding. This is reported by the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Saturday edition) published in Halle, citing a confidential inventory by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Magdeburg. According to this, 502 patients were accommodated in the specially secured locations in Bernburg (Salzlandkreis) and Uchtspringe (Stendal district) at the end of September – but these are only designed for 443 patients. For the future, however, the ministry is expecting even more patients: According to rough projections by the social department, 670 places could be needed in the penal system by 2026.
Thus the situation in the highly sensitive, but at the same time completely overloaded, penal system has worsened again. Already at the beginning of 2021, the Ministry of Social Affairs under Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD) had warned the cabinet that in the worst case, convicted criminals would have to be released “untreated”. The ministry’s alarming conclusion at the time: “This represents a significant threat to general security.” The penal system is extremely care-intensive because interned offenders usually suffer from mental illness or severe drug addiction. In such cases, courts can order this placement – this also applies to drug addicts who pose a danger to others. The current shortage of space is considerable: In Uchtspringe, according to MZ information, visitor rooms had to be converted into patient rooms in the meantime.
The State Ministry of Justice told the newspaper that “the fastest possible increase in accommodation capacities to a sufficient level was urgently required and a priority”. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, an interim solution is in preparation from 2023: The existing Uchtspringe location and its Lochow branch are to be expanded by 20 spaces each in the short term. In addition to this interim solution, a long-term, comprehensive expansion of the Uchtspringe and Bernburg locations is also planned. However, the start of the major construction projects is not expected until the end of 2022, a conclusion after about two years. The Ministry of Social Affairs told MZ that it is calculated at just under 40 million euros.
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Original content from: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, transmitted by news aktuell