Tiszalök – A Model for Cities Competing for New Prison Construction

2015. 03. 24.

Built and run by KÉSZ Group, the prison at Tiszalök, Hungary serves as a model for the Hungarian cities that consider submitting bids, by the end of March, to the Ministry of Interior for new prison construction. According to local residents, money has flown into Tiszalök, generating new jobs and traffic, and, moreover, the railway line could survive thanks to the Tiszalök prison that has been in operation for as many as seven years.

Tiszalök National Prison, accommodating more than 700 inmates, was opened 7 years ago, in 2008. Now, in 2015, the Ministry of Interior is searching for appropriate settlements for the construction of penitentiary facilities, each for 500 inmates. Based on the example of the prison run by KÉSZ, the successful applicants will benefit from constructing new prisons.

The prison at Tiszalök is surrounded by a 1436 m long rampart wall, which is needed all the more because inmates sentenced to all the three prison degrees applicable in Hungary (“fogház”, “börtön” and “fegyház” arranged from the least to the most stringent type of penitentiary) are incarcerated there. The construction of Tiszalök and Szombathely prisons, built around the same time, was justified by the general overcrowding of Hungarian jails. The same is true now as well, i.e. the state prison system is at around 140 percent of capacity on an average, and that is why government intention to construct new prisons is about to be realized. There are now altogether 18,204 prisoners detained at Hungarian penitentiaries, and it is planned to upgrade total prison capacity to 19,000 in 5 years. As one of the key elements of capacity expansion, 8 new prisons will be constructed, each for 500, each creating 250 new jobs, as well.

Back then, Tiszalök facility project attractiveness also consisted of the creation of more than 250 new jobs. The prison is operated under the PPP model, so it generates significant tax revenue for the city of Tiszalök until today. About one-fifth of prison employees are local residents, and many of them are employed by the KÉSZ Group. Also, the prison has saved teaching jobs as local primary and secondary school teachers have been invited to go to the prison and give prisoners basic lessons. As a result, they can have the mandatory weekly number of lessons, so they shouldn’t be dismissed. Neither prisoners nor visitors disturb local residents. On the other hand, thanks to the traffic generated by them, the city’s railway station has not yet been closed down.

The prison management and the city’s local government are constantly looking for cooperation opportunities. For example, KÉSZ has broken down a bad log cabin on a municipal property and installed new container houses that are available to both prison and municipal employees for week-end use. Detainees have already done sewer cleaning and limbing work as part of communal works, as well. The latest cooperation agreement allows the organization of crime prevention prison visits.


KÉSZ Mester Udvarház, Budapest
KÉSZ Industrial Park, Kecskemét
Kinnarps Office building, Budapest
Tiszalök penal facility of law enforcement
Kiskunfélegyháza town Sports Hall