Double Standard – Prison Conditions in Hungary (2002) | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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Authors: János Eörsi, Zsuzsa Jelencsics, András Kádár, Iván Mándli, János Somogyi
Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Budapest, 2002
ISBN: 963 00 9509 2


Based on the agreement of cooperation concluded on 23 December 1999 between the National Prison Administration and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), the HHC visited altogether 9 penitentiary institutions in January 2000 – January 2001. During their visits to the penitentiaries, monitoring teams focused primarily on the implementation of the laws concerning inmates’ rights. Data were also gathered about the inmates’ social situation and their chances concerning reintegration into society.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee organized monitoring teams from the program’s 42 participants. The 4-6 member monitoring teams (composed of attorneys, physicians, law-students and sociologists) spent a total of 40 days in the prisons, and carried out 565 interviews with randomly selected inmates. Numerous discussions were carried out with prison staff, prison wardens, educators, supervisors, physicians, chaplains and psychologists.

The experiences of the program are summarized in a 200-page volume entitled Double Standard – Prison Conditions in Hungary. The book concluded by the closing remarks of the National Commander of the Prison Adminisration devotes separate chapters to the anomalies revealed during the program, the heal care system of the prison administration, the social background of inmates and their prospects after release and finally the problematic aspects of employment in the prison system.


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