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MINISTER: GOVT TO STOP 'PRISON BUSINESS'

The government aims to put a halt to the "prison business" which “has grown into a billion-forint industry", Justice Minister Judit Varga said in parliament, at a plenary debate of a bill regarding compensation payments for poor prison conditions in Hungary.
 

The bill proposes suspending the payments until June 15, when the new regulation “restoring the natural balance between the compensations for victims and inmates” is expected to pass parliament. The government will then use the results of the national consultation survey on the issue as a guideline for the new regulations, which will scrap the “unfair practices” employed so far and focus on the interests of the victims and their families, Varga said.
Over the past few years the government has built new prisons and continued to develop prison conditions. Overcrowding, the grounds of the compensation lawsuits, is declining, and the inmates have job opportunities. The government is committed to fully eradicating overcrowding. Under the new legislation, the claims of the victims will be met faster and more effectively, she said.
Varga said the bill also sets a deadline, September 30, to reduce the average occupancy rate of prisons in Hungary to not more than 100%.
The government is prepared to face international controversy over the bill, she said.