Deputy Minister of Justice Dimitеr Bongalov: THERE ISN'T EVEN ONE SENSIBLE REGULATION ON PRISONS IN BULGARIA
Mr. Bongalov, recently you threw in the idea of building private prisons. You also said that this should happen on condition that the private sector prepares a business plan and calculates the amount of annual maintenance of a prisoner, the costs for electricity, water and heat supply, clothes, etc. But why should a business plan be made, since the State should be well aware of the amount spent on keeping a criminal behind bars?
- This is what you think because no such information has been published in the Official Gazette. We have a table that shows how much food there is for the game, but we do not have one about the food provided for prisoners. The amount spent on clothes for the military men is known, but the costs for the prisoners are not. Bulgarian businesses know how much is paid for illumination and water supply in dairy, poultry and pig farms, for example, but how much the everyday necessities in a prison cost remains a mystery. And the public must know how high these costs go not just because they are miserable but also because it should be aware of the ways things could be improved.
What does that mean in figures?
- Annually, the State spends BGN700 on each prisoner, with a daily portion going to some BGN1.20-BGN1.30. For six months now we've been trying to push food up to BGN2, but we have been failing because we have a budget deficit. The lack of interest on the part of private business and municipal authorities does not allow us to get additional revenues.
Mr. Bongalov, what is the 2006 budget provided to the Ministry of Justice for maintenance of the lock-ups and prisons of inquiry, for purchase of arms and protective tools for the guards and so on?
- The Ministry disposes of some BGN20MN, of which almost two thirds go for maintenance of lock-ups and prisons of inquiry. We also have BGN1.2MN, which we have been unable to collect back from Kremikovtsi AD.
Why does Kremikovtsi owe you one million levs?
- The Kremikovtsi correctional labour hostel was established to let prisoners work in the metallurgical combine. There are usually about 600 prisoners serving their sentences there, of which 170 used to work in the combine until recently.
Why do you say used?
- Because I prohibited prisoners from going there until we receive back our money. Or at least until I see a BGN1.5MN worth collateral that I can personally put in the Central Register of Special Pledges. I mean - until I become a privileged creditor of Kremikovtsi AD, because things cannot go this way any longer. There is an agreement for rescheduled payment signed last year - they are not observing it. There is another agreement from last January, but it cannot enter into force, because Kremikovtsi AD is not providing a collateral. I am about to break this agreement and initiate an executive process against Kremikovtsi.