It is elementary especially for the aggressive, antisocial offender types to hold down a job in prison – this has much to do with the fact that these inmates are generally not used to full-time work. “They often do not know how to structure a day,” says Wößner. Work simplifies this enormously, and there is a large supply of work and production halls to do it in at Waldheim. Everywhere, men in blue trousers and striped shirts are busy working. Some seem to be rather reluctant, others seem to be concentrating. They are constructing lattices, binding books, making wood briquettes, drilling, sawing, operating lathes, milling. They make wiring looms for Mercedes for good money – about ten euros per day. Others are training to be welders, which will be a valuable qualification.
“If you make an effort,” says Steffen Rost, “you can really learn things here.” No less important – especially for the “antisocial types” – is the use of free time. For many of them, sports are their number one interest. Others paint, while some cook. “If they can’t learn how to use their free time sensibly, they are only a step away from dropping back into the criminal environment or their peer groups who hang around and become involved in shady activities,” says Rost. Reoffending is then more or less a certainty.
For Michael Brinkmann, “each percent” counts – that is, each percentage drop in the relapse rate attributable to social therapy. It is a matter of human suffering. A matter of the cost of enforcement. Yet, as Gunda Wößner emphasizes, it is not easy to say how often sex offenders without therapy relapse. Numerous figures are bandied about in the literature, depending on the particular design of the studies cited. Recidivism rates depend on the definition of successful treatment, on the length of time between treatment and the measurement of outcome, and on the offender types under investigation; therefore, results may diverge widely.