Detention issue

Time out of cell

FRA research findings

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Legal instruments & key provisions

Legal instrument Key provision
Federal Prison Act (Strafvollzugsgesetz)A prisoner who does not work in the open air shall be given an opportunity to stay in the open air for at least one hour per day, weather permitting at the fixed time. Sport and educational facilities shall be available for prisoners.
Model State Prison ActIt sets a minimum standard of one hour to stay in the open air.


Year Recommendation Report
2017The NPM reported that in prisons in Traunstein (Bavaria) and Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg) the prison cells were only opened for one hour per day, thus, prisoners who do not work were detained the other 23 hours of the day in small cells. The NPM recommended to open cells for a longer time and make leisure activities available. Report details
2019According to the NPM's report, at Berlin-Moabit Prison, prisoners are frequently only allowed to leave their cells for one hour per day for outdoor exercise. Out-of-cell times at Bamberg Prison are also very short. Prisoners are given just one hour to exercise in the prison yard and one hour of out-of-cell time, during which they also have to shower. The NPM report further notes that being locked up for 23 hours per day can constitute a violation of human dignity. Life in prison should be aligned as far as possible with general living conditions. This is impossible if prisoners are locked up for 23 hours per day. Report details