SWALLOW: Healing the Wings

2,000 Euro Prize 2022

Country: Hungary

Region: Implemented nationwide

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Family, Advocacy, Detainee support

Project owner: Fogvatartottakat és Családjukat Képviselő Csoport (SWALLOW group)

Responsible person: Lili Krámer

Website: Weblink

Challenge

In Hungary, prisons have become more restrictive and less transparent. 17,000 inmates and their families have restricted contact; they face grave challenges obtaining legal aid and assistance. NGOs have no access to prisons to monitor detention conditions, insufficient healthcare, and prevent ill-treatment and torture. 

Idea

We aim to assess the most 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 detainees, and professionals can connect and support detainees to stand up for their rights. 

Actors

The programme’s network has currently has more than 30 members, including former and current detainees, their family members, experts, and the public. We have also reached 1,600 affected community members online. We conduct research on violations in prisons, provide legal support and advocacy, and organise conferences in dialogue with former detainees and their families.

Impact

We are working toward laying the ground for a self-organising movement and creating new avenues in advocacy for detainees. Our approach demonstrates the importance of ensuring the human rights of detainees; the majority will eventually re-enter society and can help amend the public perception of the world of prison. 

Transfer

Our project demonstrates a model for multidisciplinary cooperation that serves as an example for 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 detainees in any cultural or geographical context. 

Appreciation of the Jury

SWALLOW: Healing the Wings raises attention to the hidden and forgotten community of detainees and their families. The project successfully brings together a network of former and current detainees and their families, professionals, former and current prison employees, and NGOs working jointly for the rights and equal access to justice for detainees. Through the project’s close cooperation with diverse actors, SWALLOW: Healing the Wings stands up for the rights of detainees and reinforces social solidary in the community by standing up for detainees in public.