Are prison calls monitored by the authorities?

Telephone monitoring of prisoners and their interlocutors in the Fuhlsbüttel prison

The Fuhlsbüttel correctional facility informed the prisoners with a notice dated September 17, 2007 about the "new regulation of telephone options in the Fuhlsbüttel JVA". In the notice, the inmates are informed that the institution is entitled according to § 32 sentence 3 StVollzG to "individual telephone traffic or to restrict all inmates for reasons of treatment or the security and / or order of the institution ". The letter also states: “You are obliged to inform your interlocutors immediately after the telephone connection has been established that the conversation can be monitored. You must communicate this notice to all of the people you are speaking to, unless telephone calls to people or institutions are expressly excluded from monitoring in the following. "

The letter goes on to say: "Conversations with:

a) Defense counsel (an entry as a "lawyer" is not sufficient to justify the eavesdropping),

b) People's representations of the Federation or the Länder or their members,

c) the European Parliament or its members,

d) the European Court of Human Rights,

e) the European Commission for Human Rights,

f) the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

g) the data protection officer of the federal or state governments,

h) Participants who are included in the green list. "

With this in mind, I ask the Senate:

1. What is the legal nature of the notice from 09/17/2007? Is it information, an order, an administrative act or a general order?

The notice provides explanatory information about the legal situation resulting from the Prison Act (StVollzG). At the same time, the prisoners are informed of the notification obligation incumbent on them according to § 32 sentence 3 StVollzG (§ 33 paragraph 1 sentence 5 Hamburg Prison Act (HmbStVollzG)).

2. Are the regulations of the notice dated September 17, 2007 still in force?

The explanations on the notice are also binding after the Hamburg Penal Enforcement Act (HmbStVollzG) has come into force, as the legal situation has not changed in this regard.

a) If not, what regulations have been made with regard to telephone surveillance based on the law on the execution of custodial sentences, juvenile prisoners and preventive detention (Hamburg Prison Act HmbStVollzG of December 14, 2007) that came into force on January 1, 2008?

b) Have the prisoners been informed about this?

Not applicable.

c) If so, when, with what content and in what form?

See answer to 2.

3. What is a green list?

The so-called green list contains telephone numbers of persons and institutions that should be freely accessible to all prisoners without the need for the individual approval that has to be applied for in all other cases. The green list includes authorities, courts, special institutions such as the submission committee, the citizens' parliamentary groups, public legal information, debt counseling, the Hamburg data protection officer, institutions for further and advanced training, consulates, therapy facilities, mail order companies, residential projects and institutions that prepare for discharge are of importance.

a) What legal basis is the green list based on?

With the general release of the telephone numbers listed in the green list, the prison authorities are not making use of the statutory provision to permit telephone calls in individual cases at the discretion of the law and also to monitor them in accordance with the law, in favor of the prisoners. There is no need for an express legal basis for this measure, which is exclusively beneficial to the prisoners.

b) Who or which body creates the list of participants who are included in the green list?

The responsible prison manager and the security officer, usually at the suggestion of the prisoners.

4. Is it currently also possible to monitor telephone conversations with persons with professional secrecy, in particular lawyers, doctors, journalists, pastors or other persons who belong to the group of people under Section 203 of the Criminal Code?

a) If so, which ones and on what legal basis?

Yes, with the proviso that lawyers acting as defense counsel are exempt from monitoring in accordance with Section 33 (1) sentence 4 in conjunction with Section 31 (2) sentence 1 HmbStVollzG. The group of people excluded from monitoring is finally regulated in Section 33 (1) sentence 4 of the HmbStVollzG in conjunction with Section 31 (2) sentence 1 and paragraph 3 of the HmbStVollzG. The mentioned professional groups are not covered by this regulation.

5. How many telephone calls have been tapped in the Fuhlsbüttel prison since September 17, 2007? How many phone calls with people who belong to the group of people under Section 203 of the Criminal Code and who are subject to professional secrecy?


6. Can prisoners obtain a special permit, for example because they want to talk to people who have kept professional secrets, with potential employers or landlords? If so, what is the procedure for this and when has it been in force?

Yes. A structured procedure is not planned. The decision is made taking into account the individual circumstances.

7. Which regulations apply in the other prisons?

a) in the JVA Billwerder

b) in the JVA Glasmoor

c) in the JVA Hahnöfersand

d) in the pre-trial detention center

The regulations in the correctional facility (JVA) Billwerder and in the remand prison are accordingly. The JVA Hahnöfersand limits the information to the general indication of the legally given possibility of eavesdropping. Telephone calls are not monitored in the JVA Glasmoor as an institution for open execution.

8. Which regulations apply to detainees awaiting deportation?

Telephone calls made by detainees awaiting deportation are not monitored.

9. What requirements must prisoners meet in order to be able to make phone calls? What costs do the prisoners incur for phone calls to German and international landlines or mobile networks?

In principle, every prisoner has the option to make a phone call, unless he is excluded from this in individual cases for special reasons. The costs are based on the Telekom prices and are currently

- for local calls in the so-called landline network 0.1 euros / minute

- for long-distance calls in the fixed network 0.1 euros / 30 seconds

- for calls in cellular networks 0.1 euros / 8.6 seconds.

A uniform international fixed network is not available. Rather, the costs vary depending on the country called.