Parliament passes amendment criminalizing “repeat” homeless offenders, tightening rules limiting convicts’ speech rights
Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:59
People caught in the state of living in public areas for the second time within six months will face a fine of up to 150,000 forints (EUR 473) or imprisonment as of December 1, under an amendment passed by parliament on Monday.
The bill, amending Hungary’s act on minor offences, was initiated by deputies of the ruling Fidesz party in June. Proponents of the motion said at the time that though delinquents could be fined for “irregular use of public areas”, fines were not easy to collect from homeless people, therefore a fine in itself was not an effective tool for prevention.
The amended law also stipulates, however, that sanctions against homeless lifestyles should not be enforced unless homeless shelters are provided for those in need.
Parliament also adopted more stringent rules for imprisonment, under which convicts will not be allowed to give interviews or make media statements for money.
Under the latter bill, submitted by Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics, inmates will be obliged to work while serving their prison sentence. Those physically or mentally incapable of work, inmates of schooling age, the elderly, pregnant women or women taking care of young children will be exempted from that requirement.