A liberal columnist welcomes the government’s decision to buy mobile phones for prison inmates, and calls for more spending on detainees. A conservative pundit, on the other hand, thinks that the money should have been spent on improving education possibilities for inmates.
The National Correction Authority has announced its plan to purchase mobile phones for inmates. Allowing detainees short, authorized calls with their close relatives is required by Hungarian law. Due to a misprint, it was first announced that a total of 42 billion Forints had been allocated to cover the cost, but later the sum was corrected to 42 million. The cost of calls by convicts will be covered by the prisoners themselves, and the calls will be monitored by the authorities.
Sándor Révész in Népszabadság welcomes the decision to help inmates keep in touch with their relatives. The liberal analyst recalls verdicts by the European Court of Human Rights where Hungarian prison conditions were found to be below international standards. The cost of the mobile phones is negligible, Révész claims, compared to the calculations of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, according to which Hungary should spend 39 per cent more on each inmate to meet the incarceration standards required by Hungarian law.
Áron Nagy in Magyar Nemzet contends that the money allocated to buy mobile phones should have been spent differently. The conservative columnist believes that the reintegration of detainees would be better advanced by launching new education programs than by equipping them with mobile phones.