CEN / BIG

Pressure Grows For Ban On Love Cells For Prisoners

Austrian officials are under growing pressure to cancel a love bus service for prisoners that allows them to use it to travel to a special love cell for romantic meetings with their partners.

 

The trips are organised for convicts located in the capital Vienna and the surrounding area who are allowed to travel to the romantic Weinviertel region where a special love cell is available. The love nest was set up for the romantic meetings in the picture postcard town of Korneuburg.

 

Dubbed the "sex line" by prisoners, the bus is used to ferry both men and women for meetings in the love cell.

 

People who have so far used the service include a woman imprisoned in Krems just outside Vienna in Lower Austria who was allowed to meet her husband there after making the trip on the love bus.

 

Britta Tichy-Martin from the Ministry of Justice said: "These so-called long-term visits are very important for the maintenance of a relationship, not only for the partners, but also for the children."

 

But a campaign to have them cancelled was started by far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) politician Christian Lausch, who works as a prison warden and who said: "I do not see why these love trips for criminals have to be paid for by the taxpayers?"

 

And now he has won backing from officials working in the legal system at the country’s judicial union, the Justizgewerkschaft. Spokesperson in Tyrol Oliver Wilde also said that the Justizgewerkschaft wanted police-like powers for other prison officials.

 

However the justice ministry is continuing to reject the suggestion, with spokesman Josef Schmoll saying: "there is a law, and these demands are against the constitution."

 

The politician however is refusing to back down, saying: "Love cells, eccentric therapy sessions involving snails, and special medicines for murderers and rapists have nothing to do with reintegrating these people into society."