Did you know that it’s not illegal to escape from prison in Germany and its neighbour, Austria, also has a similar rule? This is in stark contrast to the rest of the world. In nearly every country around the world it is illegal to escape from prison. Many prisoners try, and when they are either discovered or captured they can face additional time behind bars. Many prisoners can even lose privileges that they once had, or face heavy disciplinary action within the prison that they tried to escape from. This is to set an example and deter other inmates from making similar decisions. In Germany and Austria however, this is not the case. It is not illegal to escape from prison in Germany and Austria, but there is a catch, and prison escapes rarely go unpunished.
Why is it not illegal to escape from prison in Germany?
The law relating to escaping from prison dates back to 1880. The law makers in Germany decided that it is human instinct to remain free or seek freedom, and in doing so they made it not illegal to escape from prison in Germany. But as we said above, there are some catches. It remains illegal for others to assist a prisoner escape lawful custody. Not only that, but if a prisoner causes any damage to any property, such as sawing or bending bars, damaging walls or fences, or assaults any individual they can be charged. It’s for this reason that very few prison escapes in Germany go unpunished. It also can have negative effects in other ways for those who attempt or succeed in escaping. Prisoners who are caught face the prospect of not being released early, and can also face harsher, or stricter living arrangements while serving the remainder of their prison sentence.
Oddly enough this law even extends to prisoners of war, POW’s. A POW can only be punished if they manage to make it to their army or flee the territory in which they were a prisoner.