The government is suspending the payment of prison awards with immediate effect, Pál Völner, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice informed the Hungarian news agency MTI on Saturday.

The State Secretary stressed that, in accordance with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s announcement made on Friday, an official government resolution has already been adopted on the matter. This is the first and most important step towards putting an end to the “prison business”, he added.

Regarding the relevant tasks of the days and weeks ahead, he said the Ministry of Justice will review the relevant regulations, and will inform the government of its findings as early as at next week’s cabinet meeting.

The government takes the view that the “prison business” is an intentional abuse of the law, both EU and Hungarian law, he pointed out. He added that this activity causes the state to sustain losses, erodes public trust in the administration of justice, and is an affront to the people’s sense of justice.

He said society most certainly does not expect criminals serving their sentences in prison to earn large rewards, and it is unacceptable that criminals, including criminals who committed serious violent crimes, and cunning lawyers helping them should be able to pocket millions of forints during their years in prison in such a way that they sue the state on all sorts of trumped-up grounds, with reference to alleged poor prison conditions and over-crowdedness.

He highlighted that in a considerable percentage of cases, attorneys clearly associated with left-liberal parties and Soros organisations represent convicts, including György Magyar and his law firm.

He added that it clearly shows the gravity of the situation and the extent of the “prison business” that so far 12,000 lawsuits have been instituted, and the damages awarded against the state have reached HUF 10 billion.

The State Secretary also mentioned that in the past few years, the number of available prison places has increased in Hungary, and new and modern prisons have been built.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)