Can a prisoner refuse parole?

What does “parole” mean?

The term appears more frequently in the area of ​​law enforcement "Probation" on. Most of you may know him from US series or newspaper articles. But what exactly does “on probation” actually mean?

The suspended sentence belongs to the area of ​​the Criminal law. When punishing criminal offenses, after Criminal Code (StGB) basically two different sanctions waiting for a convicted perpetrator:

  1. Fine or
  2. Imprisonment

If a prison sentence is imposed, however, this is not always automatically to be equated with the start of imprisonment. From time to time a Imprisonment also suspended on probation become. Find out below from when a suspended prison sentence is possible - and what requirements must be fulfilled for this.

You can find more guides on the subject of “suspended sentences” here:

➽ probation requirements

➽ Probation Officer

➽ probation service

What is a suspended sentence? Definition according to the StGB

The meaning of the suspended sentence can only be explained in connection with the assessment of a prison sentence, because: Courts can only suspend prison sentences. On the other hand, a perpetrator, the one Fine receives, not on parole to be judged.

As already indicated, there is a prison sentence not automatically start as a prison sentence. And this is exactly where probation comes into play: If a criminal becomes just one minor imprisonment convicted, there is in principle the possibility that he serve this on probation can. But what does it mean to be sentenced to probation instead of imprisonment?

Basically, it means that a perpetrator, to whom the court grants service in the form of a suspended sentence, the term of the sentence does not have to be served in a penal institution. Instead, he is given a certain period of time in which he can literally be "Prove" must - and thus prove that he will not repeatedly commit criminal offenses and that he has drawn the right lessons from the act committed.

What does "on probation" mean? When imposing imprisonment, the court may Parole determine. The imprisonment itself is not lifted, but only Postponed until further notice and commuted to suspended sentence. Only after the set probation period has expired does the suspension become a revocation of the custodial sentence (the Penalty remission according to § 56g StGB). As a rule, the convicted person no longer has to fear serving the term of his sentence in prison.

If he is not guilty of any further offenses or crimes during the set probation period and if he complies with the conditions of probation, he can get away without serving a prison sentence after it has expired.

Conversely, this means: Becomes a convicted criminal within the set period of probation again delinquent or failing to fulfill his duties, the competent court can the Revoke parole. Then the convicted person has to comply with the criminal proceedings Serving a custodial sentence in prison - in full!

Maximum suspended sentence in Germany - probation & duration of sentence

Of great importance for clarifying the question: "What is probation?" is above all one important distinction between the suspended sentence and the sentence that is suspended.

The duration of the probation is to be distinguished from the imprisonment imposed! According to paragraph 56a paragraph 1 StGB the competent court can set a probation period. The suspended sentence includes a maximum of five, but at least two years. An offender on probation can, however, also expect subsequent changes in the probation period. According to Section 56a (2) of the Criminal Code, the court may subsequently determine a reduction to the minimum (two years) or an adjustment to the highest possible suspended sentence (five years).

For example, an offender who is responsible for assaulting or attempting to assault a One year imprisonment received, by probation decision of the court for example three years probation receive. If he or she violates the conditions in these three years or if he becomes criminal again, the Serving the imprisonment be ordered in a detention center.

It is also important that the The time of probation that has elapsed to date does not count towards the custodial sentence becomes. This means: If a convicted criminal is guilty of something again at the end of the probation period set for him and the court cancels the parole, he must entire sentence imposed on him serve in a correctional facility.

The completed probation period does not reduce the duration of detention!

Not every prison sentence however, it can be suspended on probation.

When do you get parole?

The criminal law there numerous conditions that must be fulfilled so that parole can even be determined by a court. First and foremost here is that Amount of the penalty determined in the individual case. In addition, however, are also the Judgment on the act and the perpetrator itself decisive.

The relevant provisions can be found in Section 56 of the Criminal Code.

How high can the prison sentence be?

The perpetrator cannot hope for parole for every imposed prison sentence. While minor penalties of three or six months often commuted to suspended sentence, this is not the rule with higher penalties.

In principle, only imposed Imprisonment for a maximum of two years suspended on probation (Section 56 (2) StGB).

In the case of convictions with regard to some criminal offenses, the Probability excluded from the outset, for example at:

In these cases only the Suspension of a residual sentence possible on probation. But more on this later.

The Evaluation criteria penalties of up to one year are also right strict, with higher sentences of up to two years in prison even more extensive.

But what criteria are taken into account in the judicial assessment?

Evaluation criteria - course of events, social prognosis and personality

It is not only the amount of the penalty that is decisive in the judicial decision as to whether the perpetrator is granted probation. Especially those too Consideration of the perpetrator himself and the act committed can influence the court's decision for and against parole.

Section 56 of the Criminal Code even gives explicit specifications as to which aspects are to be used for the individual assessment. In principle, a positive decision can be made regarding probation,

“If it is to be expected that the convicted person will use the conviction as a warning and will not commit any more criminal offenses in the future even without the influence of the penal system. In doing so, the personality of the convicted person, his past life, the circumstances of his act, his behavior after the act, his living conditions and the effects that are to be expected for him from the exposure are to be taken into account. " (Section 56 Paragraph 1 StGB)

The most important thing is that Social forecast:


This rather abstract term basically includes everything that shapes and defines the perpetrator himself - his level of education up to his Overall appearance and the level of Integration into society.


a) Criminal law perspective: Using an extract from the criminal record, the court can find out whether the convicted person has previously committed other crimes. This enables a more realistic assessment of the likelihood of reoffending. The prognosis for a perpetrator who has already been suspected several times can be correspondingly worse than for a first-time perpetrator.

b) Personal perspective: Here, private life circumstances can also be taken into account that had a positive or negative impact on the perpetrator in the past: Did the perpetrator grow up in a sheltered state or in a burdened parental home (violence, drugs, etc.)? Were there even stays at home? Were there any special incidents in the life of the perpetrator that could have influenced him or her in any way?

Circumstances indeed

Not just the underlying one Offense yourself, but also Type and motivation of the commission can be crucial in deciding on probation. Did the perpetrator act out of base motives? Was he using a gun? The perpetrator acted with Intent or (grossly) negligent? A heavily drunk driver who has caused an accident can be treated differently than a motor vehicle driver who is guilty of negligent bodily harm in road traffic by distracting his screaming child in the back seat.

Conduct after the act

This does not only include any Repentance of the perpetrator. After an accident has been caused, it can also be considered, for example, whether the perpetrator came to the victim's aid or, on the other hand, was also guilty of failure to provide assistance. The extent to which the perpetrator initiated the settlement of damage incurred (perpetrator-victim compensation, compensation, compensation for pain and suffering, etc.) can also be used for the assessment.

living conditions

The social environment and position in society can be taken into account here. Does the perpetrator have a stable group of people around him who also positively influence him, or does he move e.g. B. in a criminal environment? If the condemned one goes regulated professional employment after or is he permanently unemployed? Possible health aspects can also be included. Are mental or health restrictions to be recognized?

At Imprisonment between one and two years must take the exam special circumstances reveal that can justify probation. Of particular interest is the Efforts by the perpetrator to find an appropriate compensation - for example in the form of compensation - to care (Section 56 (2) of the Criminal Code).

It turns out that extensive conditions have to be fulfilled in order to be able to realize the parole on probation at all. But especially at first offenders and young people a court will then issue a suspended sentence more often.

How many times can you get parole?

From the extensive consideration of the evaluation criteria just described, it is evident that in principle the repeated delinquency an offender can stand in the way of a renewed suspended sentence. Still, it may well be possible to have dishes even after the second or third minor imprisonment determine a parole.

How often this is possible in total cannot be quantified. Here is always the respective individual case to consider and the corresponding underlying criminal offenses. Are they different offenses? How old is the perpetrator? What is the scope of the imprisonment imposed - less than or more than a year? Does the perpetrator show any improvement? Are there any special circumstances?

Basically the likelihood of no longer being granted parole increasesthe more often a perpetrator has committed a criminal offense in the past.

The courts can determine how often the perpetrator has become suspicious can be found in the extract from the Federal Central Register.

Is there a suspended sentence in the certificate of good conduct?

Be in a certificate of good conduct all previous convictions of a human being listed. But what about a suspended sentence? Should a custodial sentence be assessed as a previous conviction despite a suspended sentence?

Yes. In principle, all convictions that have criminal relevance are listed in the certificate of good conduct. The lower limit at which a person is deemed to have a criminal record is one Fine of 90 daily rates. Penalties below this are therefore not recorded in the certificate of good conduct.

A prison sentence, on the other hand, appears regularly in the personal directory. If the parole has been granted, this also applies including the set probation period, mention in the certificate of good conduct (Section 7 of the Federal Central Register Act - BZRG).

Can you travel abroad on probation?

In principle, a stay abroad can also be accomplished with a suspended sentence. It should be noted, however, that possibly entry problems can arise if the country of your choice refuses to cross the border due to your criminal record.

Also to be considered, if applicable probation conditions issued by the court. Do you have to report to the court regularly or notify a change of residence immediately? If in doubt, contact the competent court.

Offenders who are serving the remaining custodial sentence on probation can opt out contact their probation officerto clarify the conditions under which travel abroad is possible.

Special case: The suspended sentence in the case of residual sentences

A sentence can be suspended on probation not only in the case of minor sentences. In principle, the criminal law also provides that a perpetrator sitting in prison the early release is to be made possible. Basically are here To make distinctions between early and life imprisonment:

  1. Early imprisonment:

    Does a perpetrator have his Two-thirds of the imprisonment - but at least two months - served in the penal system, can taking into account his Social forecast and, subject to his consent, the remainder of the sentence may be suspended (Section 57 (1) StGB). The right of Probation test every prisoner who has already served two thirds of his sentence is entitled to it. However, the court can also issue a negative decision issue if there are reasons against early release (Section 57 (6) StGB).

    Sometimes the suspension of the remaining sentence is already on probation after serving half of the sentence possible. As a rule, however, only if the applicant is a First-time offender acts, the one Imprisonment for a maximum of two years Served (Section 57 (2) StGB).

    The Probation period lies in this case at least for the duration of the remaining sentence (Section 57 Paragraph 3 StGB). In the event of a violation of the probation conditions or a new offense, the offender may then have to serve the remaining sentence in the correctional facility.
  2. Life imprisonment:

Also a Part of a life sentence can be served on probation. Before a convicted criminal can submit an application, certain must basic requirements be fulfilled (§ 57a paragraph 1 StGB):

  • He must already at least 15 years have served their sentence.
  • At the trial was not determined the particular gravity of the guilt.
  • The general security is not at risk from early release.
The Probation period in the case of suspension of a life sentence always five years (Section 57a ​​(3) of the Criminal Code). After completing the remainder of the suspended prison sentence, the Pardonprovided that the conditions were observed and the perpetrator does not become a criminal again.
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What does “parole” mean?
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