Millions of people are in the prisons and dungeons of the world’s rulers. Countless people are on death row, others are there for days, weeks or months, and still others have been there for decades. Only a few weeks ago, it was announced in Germany that Hans-Georg would be released in 2021. It was January 20, 1962, when the Berlin prison gates closed behind Hans-Georg – he has been in custody since that day. He had shot two people after a robbery.
Long-term incarceration is in some ways similar to the death penalty; only, perfidiously, with the death penalty the state is more honest, openly wanting to kill the delinquent. With decades of imprisonment, death is also the often realistic prospect of escaping the walls, but on the way there, body and soul wither away.
In Europe, in addition to life imprisonment, there is also the instrument of preventive detention. According to the official interpretation, people are no longer behind prison walls as a punishment, but purely as a preventive measure to prevent possible acts in the future. This is based on forecasts that are not much better and more reliable than the weather forecast for the next month.
Even if the material conditions of imprisonment may often ensure physical survival in these Western European dungeons, it is mentally grueling. Those who have contact with the outside world can compensate a little, but others lose their minds over the long periods of incarceration. Running into the concrete walls, hurting themselves – hurting others. They swallow the products of the pharmaceutical industry, generously distributed by the prison doctors, or supply themselves with drugs on the black market. Of course, this is not a peculiarity of long-term prisoners, but applies to short-term prisoners as well.
Long-term prisons are among the darkest, most sinister places in society. There, the alleged evil is supposed to be banished, imprisoned, eradicated, but one look at any daily newspaper, any TV programme is enough: the evil has not disappeared, it has not been banished. The idea that locking up hundreds of thousands of people for decades would improve the world one iota is an illusion. Perhaps one that societies and their rulers need, already as a threatening backdrop for coming uprisings: “Look here – we will throw you into the darkest holes and there you will vegetate until the natural end of your lives!”
This makes June 11 all the more important. The day gives individuals a face, a name, it brings people into the public eye. It gives strength. It sends a signal of courage and determination. The day proves that there are people who care about the fate of those who have been locked up for a long time and who want to fight for change.
Together with those who are behind bars!
Side by side: For a society without prison! Freedom! Now!
z.Zt. Justizvollzugsanstalt (SV),
Thomas is an anarchist who is in prison since 1996 and was sentenced for a bank robbery by means of which it was planned to organize money for political projects. For his rebellious behaviour in prison he got 2 more sentences. In 2013 his official prison time was over but was kept in Sicherungsverwahrung (a form of “security detention” in Germany for convicts who have served full terms, but are still considered to be a risk to “public safety” and therefore detained past the end of their sentence) and still is. Now in 2021 he is in prison for 25 long years already and there is no way to tell when and if he ever comes out of prison, but he hopes to be released by 2023.
He writes a lot of statements to different topics from prison and is always happy to receive letters.