The justice ministry has submitted an amendment proposal to parliament aimed at eliminating abuse in connection with compensation payments to prisoners who sued the state over conditions in overcrowded prisons.
State Secretary Pál Völner said the reform will “stop the prison business, which has become a multi-billion forint industry”. It will also put the focus on helping crime victims and promoting their interests, he said. The original legislation on compensations, passed in 2017, proved to be inadequate when perpetrators “of outrageous crimes” clinched hefty compensations citing poor conditions in overcrowded prisons, while crime victims “could barely be compensated”, Völner said. “Inmates and their lawyers have successfully sued the state for over ten billion forints [EUR 27.3m] in the past three years,” Völner insisted.
In response, the government suspended the payments of all compensations on March 7, and ordered the legislation to be amended, he said. Meanwhile, the government has built new prison complexes housing some 3,000 inmates, bringing the occupancy rate down to 96%, he added. The Hungarian government continues to exercise zero tolerance against criminals and stands on the victims’ side, Völner said.