Prison Act (s) (Germany)

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The German penitentiary laws regulate the execution of juvenile punishment , imprisonment and the execution of custodial measures of reform and security .


Basic data
Title: Law on the execution of prison sentences and custodial measures
for reform and security
Short title: Prison Act
Abbreviation: StVollzG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Prison Law
References : 312-9-1
Issued on: March 16, 1976
( BGBl. I p. 581 , ber. P. 2088 ,
ber. 1977 I p. 436 )
Entry into force on: January 1, 1977
Last change by: Art. 7 G of December 9, 2019
( Federal Law Gazette I pp. 2146, 2152 )
Effective date of the
last change:
December 17, 2019
(Art. 8 G of December 9, 2019)
GESTA : C094
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Prison Act ( StVollzG ) is a German federal law that has been regulating the execution of adult imprisonment in penal institutions and custodial measures for reform and security since 1977 ( Section 1 StVollzG).

The StVollzG was enacted on March 16, 1976 and came into force on January 1, 1977 after the Federal Constitutional Court had warned in the prisoner's judgment that a legal regulation of the penal system should be imposed.

Since the legislative competence for the penal system within the framework of the federalism reform was transferred from the federal government to the federal states with effect from September 1, 2006, the StVollzG according to Art. 125a para. 1 GG continues as federal law, but can be replaced by state law. The state legislators have gradually made use of this option.


In 1934, the then Reich Justice Minister Franz Gürtner issued an ordinance on the execution of sentences.

A service and enforcement order (DVollzO), which was passed by the Conference of Justice Ministers and was controversial in teaching and jurisprudence, dates from December 1, 1961 .

According to the theory of special legal relationships (including special violent relationships ), restrictions on fundamental rights for persons who were particularly closely related to the state did not require a legal basis. A penal law was therefore not considered constitutionally necessary. With a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1972, this theory was abandoned and the legislature was urged to enact a penal law.

Regulatory content

According to § 2 sentence 1 StVollzG "[in] execution of the prison sentence [...] the prisoner should be able to lead a life without criminal offenses in the future in social responsibility (execution goal)". Thus the aim of the prison system is the rehabilitation of the prisoner. However, the entire paragraph bears the heading "§ 2 tasks of execution". § 2 sentence 2 StVollzG reads: “The execution of the prison sentence also serves to protect the general public from further criminal offenses”, without the word goal appearing in this sentence. From this one can conclude that the rehabilitation of the prisoner is the sole purpose of the execution, while the protection of the general public is merely a supplementary task, so that social integration has clear priority over all other tasks. In contrast to z. B. to the Lower Saxony Prison Act (NJVollzG), there is no target plurality.

Furthermore, life in the prison system should be adapted to general living conditions as much as possible, and the harmful consequences of the prison system should be counteracted. The prisoner should be enabled to integrate into life in freedom ( § 3 StVollzG). In addition, the readiness of the prisoner is to be awakened to cooperate in his treatment as well as in the design of the execution goal ( § 4 StVollzG).

In addition to these principles, the law contains regulations on prison planning, the status and rights and obligations of the prisoner and the prison authority. In addition, there is an influence on the prisoner's daily life with regard to nutrition, religious practice, health care, leisure time and the maintenance of security and order.

Prisoners who feel their rights have been violated by measures taken by the institution can submit their concerns to the prison advisory board at their prison (see StVollzG § 162ff), the state's prison officer (e.g. NRW) or legal protection at the courts ( penal enforcement chamber , Higher Regional Court ). The effectiveness of this legal protection is, however, controversial (Feest / Lesting / Selling 1997).

With regard to the measures of correction and safety are secured custody , the placement in a psychiatric hospital and in an institution for regulated. Several regulations follow the prisons themselves, there are also regulations on data collection, social security and adjustments to other legal provisions.


With its judgment of May 31, 2006, the Federal Constitutional Court also called for a legal regulation of the youth penal system . Since then, some federal states have their own juvenile penal law regulating the execution of juvenile sentences and the execution of imprisonment in accordance with Section 114 of the Juvenile Court Act (JGG). In other federal states, the adult prison laws have been supplemented by regulations for juvenile prisoners.


Legal comments

Web links

  • Legal text
  • Prison archive (with ongoing reporting)
  • Law guide Laws and regulations relating to the penal system
  • Prison Laws A comparison of the federal states' penal law

Individual evidence

  1. Law amending the Basic Law (Art. 22, 23, 33, 52, 72, 73, 74, 74a, 75, 84, 85, 87c, 91a, 91b, 93, 98, 104a, 104b, 105, 107, 109 , 125a, 125b, 125c, 143c) of August 28, 2006, Federal Law Gazette I p. 2034
  2. cf. Regulations of the federal states in the area of ​​the penal system, accessed on March 12, 2019
  3. Ordinance on the execution of custodial sentences and measures of security and reform associated with deprivation of liberty of May 14, 1934, RGBl. I p. 383
  4. "The penal system is the litmus test of a society". Interview with Annelie Ramsbrock about rehabilitation in West German prisons Website of the Gerda Henkel Foundation , January 17, 2017
  5. Order of the Federal Constitutional Court of March 14, 1972 - BVerfGE 33, 1, para. 17 f.
  6. cf. Horst Schüler-Springorum : Prison in transition, 1969, p. 59 ff .; Heinz Müller-Dietz : Prison Acts and Prison Reform , 1970, p. 86 ff., Each with detailed case-law and litigation evidence
  7. cf. Draft of a law on the execution of custodial sentences and custodial measures for reform and security - Prison Act (StVollzG) BT-Drs. 7/918 of July 23, 1973
  8. BVerfG, judgment of May 31, 2006 - 2 BvR 1673/04, 2 BvR 2402/04
  9. cf. For example, the law on the execution of juvenile punishment in Berlin (Berliner Jugendstrafvollzugsgesetz - JStVollzG Bln) of December 15, 2007
  10. cf. For example, law to implement federalism reform in the penal system, Landtag of Baden-Württemberg, printed matter 14/5411, legislative decision of November 4, 2009
  11. Juvenile Prison Act IV: (Youth) Prison Acts of the Länder Link collection on the DVJJ website , March 15, 2012