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... about the release from prison.

Release from prison is a desired and important date and should be well prepared, ideally with professional support.

Early release dates / Residual penalty suspension

It is possible that a penalty of imprisonment is ended prematurely or that one is released prematurely.


Two early release points are the following:

  • Half penalty, i.e. after half of the actual term of imprisonment.
  • 2/3 penalty, i.e. after 2/3 of the actual term of imprisonment.

The penalty of imprisonment is suspended to probationin the case of early release. The probation is at least as long as the rest of the penalty of imprisonment.


Half penalty:

An application must always be made for a half penalty. If possible, this should be submitted 2 months before the time that can be considered as half of the term of imprisonment. 


The following requirements must be met for approval:

  • it must be the person's first imprisonment penalty (no previous imprisonment penalties)
  • the imprisonment penalty must not exceed 2 years
  • at least 6 months must have already been served
  • the assessment of the offence, the personality and the development of the convicted person during the execution of the penalty result in a special circumstance
  • the early release must be safe for the general public


2/3 penalty

The date for the 2/3 penalty is already fixed from the beginning and does not have to be requested.


The following requirements must be met for a 2/3 penalty:

  • two thirds of the penalty imposed, but at least 2 months, must have been served
  • it must be safe for the general public
  • the convicted person must consent


The date for the 2/3 penalty is already fixed from the beginning and does not have to be applied for. Even if the 2/3 date is over, an application  can still be made.


When deciding whether to approve a 2/3 penalty or a half penalty, the court considers various points, e.g.:

  • the personality of the prisoner
  • the previous life
  • the circumstances of the offence
  • the recidivism rate of the individual
  • the person's behaviour during the term of imprisonment
  • the life circumstances and effects that can be expected from the suspension

after-prison support in general

The prison is primarily responsible for preparing the release of prisoners. The prison works closely with the probation Service and the associations of non-govermental offender support service. Prisoners are to be released with the aim of being reintegrated and resocialised back into society.


The aim is that suitable accommodation can be found for the prisoner after the prison term, as well as a job or training position.


As a rule, preparation for release from prison begins 6 months to 1 year before the expected release date.


Detainees are entitled to a variety of preparatory services. These include, for example, support in dealing with the authorities or referral to therapeutic services.

after-prison support in specific

Support in preparing for release from prison can be obtained through the project "ZEBRA - Zentrum für Entlassungshilfe, Beratung, Resozialisierung und Anslaufstelle zur Vermittlung gemeinnütziger Arbeit". Here you can find all the information!


Release and the time before is an exciting time and must be well accompanied and prepared. The better the preparation, the easier the first time in freedom will be.


The first point of contact during the preparation for release from prison is the prison and especially the social services.

In the best case, release from prison should begin at least 6 months before release. In the best case, the prisoners can be released so that some appointments, for example, to find a place to live and to deal with the authorities, can be made while they are still in prison.


There are some things that should be done before release. Whether this is sufficient in a specific case must be discussed with the person in custody. It is therefore advisable to get in touch with an association of non-governmental offender support service and to work closely with the social service of the prison and the probation service or supervision of conduct, if they are responsible.


Documents that are needed

  • Certificate of detention
  • Certificate of earnings
  • Passport photo
  • Valid identity card (in the best case, otherwise old identity card)
    • If you do not have an identity card, you will need a birth certificate (if you do not have one either, you will have to pay for it when you apply)
  • Tax ID
  • Social security number/ pension insurance number
  • Application documents
  • Certificate of no rent debts from previous tenant
  • Schufa information

Important information for the release

The following points should be considered when preparing for release from prison and immediately after release:


  • Certificate of release from prison/ proof of employment from prison
  • Accommodation provider certificate/ valid tenancy agreement
  • Residents' registration office - have your identity card updated
  • Register health insurance
  • Open a bank account
  • Register with the employment agency/ job centre/ social welfare office/ pension provider
  • Insurance (household contents/liability)
  • Register with utility company (electricity, water/ rubbish)
  • Register with probation service


The points are described in detail on the page '...about the (initial) period after release'.

Day of release

The release on the last day of imprisonment should happen in the morning hours according to § 50 JVollzGB LSA.

In the event that the release date falls on a

  • Saturday,
  • Sunday / public holiday,
  • a working day after Easter or Whitsun,
  • as well as the period from 22.12. to 06.01.

the appointment can be postponed to the previous working day.

The prerequisite for this is representability depending on the length of imprisonment or other caring reasons.


The prisoner may be released up to two days earlier if this is urgently necessary for the integration.