In Hungary, prisons have become more restrictive and less transparent. NGOs have no access to prisons to monitor conditions, insufficient healthcare, and prevent ill-treatment. 16,000 inmates and their families do not have access to information on their rights and face challenges accessing legal aid.
SWALLOW – support network for detainees and their families
Region: Implemented nationwide
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Advocacy, Offender support
Project owner: FECSKE
Responsible person: Tüske Anna
We aim to assess the pressing problems faced by detainees and their families. Our programmes provide aid through sharing information, legal assistance, and advocacy. We also established a platform where family members, released inmates, and professionals can support inmates to stand up for their rights.
The programme currently has 24 members, including released prisoners, family members of inmates, experts, and prison staff. We organise meetings, write briefings on violations in prisons, conduct research, maintain a database of prison conditions, and challenge social prejudices through stories.
We work with inmates and their families to ensure the human rights of inmates. In the future, we would like to develop a self-organised movement and develop new forms to represent inmates’ interests. The majority of inmates will eventually leave prison and can help amend the public perception of the prison system.
Our programme serves as a model for cooperation in other countries to represent vulnerable communities. Working with the stories of detainees and representing them with dignity has great potential to transform the public representation of prisons and inmates in any cultural or geographical context.