Minister Lucha can no longer turn things around in the dispute over the penitentiary system in Heidelberg. In the municipal council he bites on granite.
Heidelberg (dpa / lsw) - Social Affairs Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) failed with an appeal for a temporary institution for drug-addicted and psychiatric offenders in Heidelberg. Late Thursday evening, the municipal council voted with two abstentions to postpone the state's building application for the renovation of the ex-prison "Fauler Pelz" for the correctional facility by one year. This was a proposal from Mayor Eckart Würzner (independent).
After around two hours of explanations and appeals, the local councilors were not convinced that the correctional system in the former prison really ended in the summer of 2025. And this despite the fact that Lucha, a former psychiatric employee, gave his "psychiatric word of honour" that he was not striving for a permanent solution. Even his reminder that this is about an obligation for the general good was not fruitful.
During his appearance in the "Wasp's Nest", as a city councilwoman put it, he promised to draw up a public contract with the city for the temporary use. "I offer them an open consultation on their proposals." Subsequent use by the university can also be regulated quickly and bindingly. An operational building is also available for this purpose.
He is interested in an amicable solution and wants to soften the "cold shoulder" of the municipal council. An FDP city councilor had previously described the draft contract submitted by Lucha as an impertinence. In particular, detailed cost statements for the investment of eleven million euros in the renovation of the building and clearer statements on contractual penalties were demanded. Lucha also had to take a lot of criticism because of poor communication from the point of view of the municipal council.
With regard to overcrowding in the psychiatric clinics, Lucha said: "The emergency does not stop at Heidelberg either." He emphasized that the city councilors' distrust of the penal system was unfounded. They do not believe in the interim solution announced by the ministry until the summer of 2025 and want to keep the building for the university. The minister described the unacceptable conditions in the psychiatric centers for patients and staff. Functional and visiting rooms as well as containers are already being used there. The planned 80 places in Heidelberg should provide relief until other projects are completed, about 100 places in a new building in Schwäbisch Hall.
The city councilors are also burned children because of another conflict between country and city. Many feel reminded that the country promised them in 2015 that the arrival center for refugees would be temporarily set up in the municipality. The transitional facility became a permanent facility on the site of the former US settlement Patrick Henry Village. Lucha said: "I can't treat them away from their Patrick Henry Village." A city councilor summed up the meeting with Goethe and probably also spoke from the heart of his colleagues: "I hear the message well, but I lack the faith."