Does imprisonment for default of payment have negative special preventive effects?

Project period

01.09.2023 – 31.07.2025

Project staff

Project management: Prof. Dr. Tillmann Bartsch and Dr. Laura Klebe

Merten Neumann

Christiane Borger


Fritz Thyssen Foundation for Scientific Research


Project description

Imprisonment for default of payment (IFDP) has been under critical observation since its introduction. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, an exceptional opportunity has arisen to explore the potential impacts of this punitive measure. During this period, a significant number of IFDPs were suspended or remitted in the state of Berlin, providing a rare chance for comparative recidivism analyses.

The central aim of the project is to investigate the extent to which serving an IFDP may affect the recidivism of offenders. To achieve this, individuals who were spared the execution of the IFDP due to pandemic-related reasons will be studied and compared with those who served the IFDP regularly. The analysis is based on the examination of prosecution files and the evaluation of Federal Central Criminal Register extracts. Additionally, inmate personnel files of those who served IFDPs will be analyzed to gain more information about their detention experiences.

With this project, we aspire to gain valuable insights and contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding IFDPs. The analysis of this unique opportunity enables a better understanding of the potential relationship between short-term imprisonment and recidivism.