Christmas amnesty: Germany to release at least 963 prison inmates

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Germany is releasing at least 963 prison inmates early to coincide with the Christmas period, according to a survey by dpa.

The so-called Christmas amnesty aims to allow prisoners already due for release in the new year the opportunity to take advantage of assistance before the Christmas break.

But in many of the country’s states, the number of early releases has dropped compared to last year.
In Berlin, 124 inmates are being released early, compared to 170 in 2019.

In North Rhine Westphalia, the number dropped from 522 last year to 247 this year. Saxony is releasing inmates early around Christmas for the first time. The state is freeing 58 prisoners.
Bavaria meanwhile will not release any.

The lower number of Christmas releases compared to 2019 may be linked to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many offenders have already been granted a stay of detention this year to make room for quarantine measures in prisons.

Usually it is only inmates who are not serving a long sentence who are eligible for the Christmas amnesty.

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