The German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch - StGB) provides for traditional penalties (such as fines, imprisonment for a fixed term, and life imprisonment) as well as measures of correction and prevention.

Sentences are the common legal consequences imposed by criminal courts. Especially heavy offences result in prison sentences. Most criminal offences have a wide range of sentence concerning the length of the imprisonment, life sentences are considered mainly in the case of homicide offences. Smaller offences like burglary lead to shorter imprisonments up to two years, which can be suspended. Fines are pronounced most frequently by the courts.

Measures of rehabilitation and security include very different sanctions for special offender groups. In recent years the public attention centered on custodial restriction orders like placing in mental hospitals or preventive custody.