The ever-increasing challenge for prisoners detained overseas to communicate with loved ones back home has not quite been eliminated, but it has become less strenuous due to a ground-breaking ruling in Germany. On Tuesday, Germany’s constitutional court ruled that affordable phones services are a constitutional right for prisoners in regard to rehabilitation purposes. In July 2015, a detainee filed a lawsuit against the prison for significantly increasing the costs of phone calls. The prison implemented new tariffs that costed him 80 euros a month for phone calls. Prior to the new tariffs phone calls were roughly 50% cheaper.

The Court furthered noted in their explanation that, “Telecommunications services do not have to be made available to prisoners free of charge. However, prisoners should not be burdened with charges.” The mission of Prisoners Abroad is to provide a lifeline for British citizens and their families during and after imprisonment overseas. Therefore, rulings such as this that protect the rights of prisoners are steps in the direct direction.

We are currently support 32 British people in German prisons. 

The importance of ensuring prisoners’ rights and rehabilitation cannot be overstated. Prisoners Abroad works intensively with the consular staff of foreign embassies to ensure that British nationals survive imprisonment overseas with dignity and hope. The ability of being able to make phone call and speak with loved ones or Prisoners Abroad staff can serve as a vital source of comfort during times of loneliness and despair.

By James Donnell

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