The university prison in the Münzgasse 20, with its two barrel-vaulted rooms, is the oldest preserved campus prison in Germany. From 1515 until the construction of the Neue Aula (New Assembly Hall) in 1845, it served as the prison for the “cives academici” or the academic citizens.
Yet it was not only the students and professors who were considered academic citizens, but also the service personal, the professors’ families, tradesmen and printers enjoyed the privileged status, which came with the exemption from taxes and tariffs. The university Senate was responsible for all legal cases, with the Rector serving as the chief justice. Punishable crimes included secret marriage engagements, binge drinking, skipping sermons, breaking the dress code, playing games with dice, and nightly rampages – offenses that were primarily committed by students. In an effort to counteract the graffiti artists among the “incarcerated”, the university commissioned Gottfried Schreiber to paint the rooms with biblical and ancient images and sayings.