Commentary on fare evasion & punishment: get out of the pigeon hole

The red-red-green coalition agrees to punish fare evasion only as a misdemeanor. So why isn’t the finished Bundesrat initiative coming?

Control in the S-Bahn: "Tickets please!" Photo: dpa

Sometimes you can only shake your head at the lack of courage of some politicians. Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) has – as he himself says – a Bundesrat initiative to decriminalize fare evasion "in the drawer". Only: There it is to remain also first times, because its party is not yet convinced of it. That is absurd for many reasons.

It is not a matter of letting customers without a BVG or S-Bahn ticket get away without punishment in the future. Rather, according to Geisel, the offense is to be downgraded to a misdemeanor, which will then be punished with fines. Public prosecutors, courts and even prisons would be relieved – the latter, because many people convicted of fare evasion instead of paying their fine start a substitute prison sentence, which costs the state dearly.

Interior senator Geisel announced the pitiful drawer existence of its Bundesratsinitiative on Saturday on the parliamentary group meeting of the left, after their right-political speaker had spoken likewise of such a Bundesratsinitiative in its drawer. The Green Senator of Justice Dirk Behrendt, who was present at the retreat, also supports decriminalization. Much more pro voices in the red-red-green coalition are not really needed.

In addition, there are other supporters beyond the red-red-green spectrum: the North Rhine-Westphalian CDU justice minister is in favor, and the German Judges’ Association has signaled approval.

Two thirds serve time for fare evasion: Plotzensee Prison in Berlin Photo: dpa

p>There is even a reason for the discussion in Berlin. After some irregularities in the free prison around Christmas, it became clear again how many people are in jail for repeated fare evasion: It was the reason for imprisonment for two-thirds of all inmates in the Plotzensee correctional facility at the beginning of January.

So now is a good time to once again set accents in the debate with a corresponding Bundesrat initiative and perhaps even directly bring about a far-reaching change. This is exactly what the red-red-green coalition in Berlin was elected for. Be brave!

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