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Information update on overcrowding and prison conditions

Information update by the HHC on the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in the Varga and Others v. Hungary case

The European Court of Human Rights established in 2015 that overcrowding in penitentiaries in Hungary constitutes a structural problem. The execution of the judgment in the case at hand, Varga and Others v. Hungary, where the HHC represented half of the applicants, is discussed during the current session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 1-3 September 2020.

The HHC prepared a brief update on the current situation that explains the steps the Hungarian government has taken to address overcrowding in the prison system. The information update concludes that the Committee of Ministers should continue to examine the cases related to overcrowding and prison conditions, and that the Hungarian Government should be under strict scrutiny while carrying out its announced review of the system of compensations for prison overcrowding. The HHC is of the view that while reducing overcrowding by building prisons using light-weight technology might seem to work on paper, it will leave crucial issues unresolved, and a turn in criminal policy is required to decrease the number of detainees and overcrowding in the long run.

The update also includes references to previous communications the HHC submitted to the Committee of Ministers related to the execution of the Varga and Others v. Hungary judgment.

The update is available here:

Overcrowding and prison conditions – an update on the Varga and Others v. Hungary


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Hungarian Helsinki Committee