On 18 November 2013, the Justice Minister of the state of Bavaria in Germany announced that it will stop detaining immigration detainees in prisons. Until now, people awaiting deportation (because their asylum claim was unsuccessful or under the EU’s Dublin regulation) were detained in prisons in three different locations in Bavaria – a practice against international standards.

The Justice Minister announced that a prison in Mühdorf am Inn will be refurbished and managed as a detention centre with 82 beds exclusively for immigration detainees, from mid-January 2014. The centre will reportedly implement a more relaxed regime including in relation to contact with the outside world, exercise opportunities and meals, in line with the non-criminal status of immigration detainees.

The announcement comes as Bavarian courts have released a number of immigration detainees in the past weeks, upholding challenges to their detention. IDC member JRS Germany has filed 80 such appeals and believes that the recent practice of the courts has led to the government decision to set up a new specialised immigration detention centre. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany has referred questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union in two cases related to the detention of immigration detainees in prisons. However, decisions on these cases are not expected for a while.

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EU returns directive ruling from the German High Court