Hungary’s Parliament suspends compensation payments for prison overcrowding

The Hungarian Parliament on Tuesday voted to suspend compensation payments to inmates who have sued the state over conditions in overcrowded prisons, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

“Until June 15, no compensation due to prison congestion can be paid, Parliament decided on Tuesday with 139 votes in favor, two against and four abstentions,” MTI said.

The legislation was submitted by Minister of Justice Judit Varga and has been passed in the framework of an extraordinary procedure.

The new legislation also stipulates that, based on the results of a “national consultation” next month, the government must prepare a proposal for rules concerning the payment of compensations by May 15.

To date, some 12,000 lawsuits have been launched against the Hungarian state for violating the European Union’s prison standards, leading to penalties of over 10 billion Hungarian forints (32.2 million U.S. dollars) in total, according to the Hungarian government.

Hungary will begin an ambitious prison-building program in an attempt to stem the tide of costly lawsuits by inmates complaining of overcrowding, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last month.