The Society for Civil Rights coordinated a constitutional complaint against a decision of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main. The constitutional complaint concerned the question of whether mentally ill individuals who are forcibly detained under section 63 of the Criminal Code may be treated worse than people in preventive detention.
While persons in preventive detention in the German state of Hesse do not have to contribute to the costs of their detention, the Marburg Public Prosecutor's Office has determined such a contribution to the detriment of the complainant who is placed in a psychiatric hospital. The Hessian courts have confirmed this.
Unequal treatment violates the general principle of equality in Art. 3 I of the constitution
People in preventive detention make a so-called special sacrifice in the interest of public safety: although they have served their sentence, they remain in detention as long as they pose a considerable danger. The Hessian legislature therefore does not require them to contribute to the costs of preventive detention. The complainant, on the other hand, was required to contribute to the costs of his placement in psychiatric care according to Hessian state law. In the appeal coordinated by the GFF, however, he demonstrated that placement in a psychiatric hospital also constitutes a special sacrifice. Already for this reason alone, the different treatment with regard to accommodation costs was not justified.
Discrimination against mentally ill individuals is not justified
If a distinction is to be made at all with regard to cost sharing between individuals in preventive detention and those accommodated under section 63 of the Criminal Code, then the latter should be favoured rather than disadvantaged. Usually, their culpability is reduced or even completely absent. Moreover, the offences for which they are deprived of their liberty are often of much lesser gravity.
The GFF's support
The GFF supported the plaintiff in order to bring about a fundamental decision by the Federal Constitutional Court. Unfortunately, this did not happen: the court did not accept the constitutional complaint without giving reasons.