Russian President pays heed to penitentiary reform

Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps a watchful eye on the situation with Russia's penitentiary system, Russian Justice Minister Yury Chaika told his German counterpart Herta Daeubler-Gmelin today. According to Chaika, the president has recently signed 61 amendments to the penitentiary system law with the general purpose of humanizing the state's punitive policy. The justice minister believes these amendments have helped improve prison conditions and treatment of inmates. This year, Russia could finally afford to launch construction of new and reconstruction of old pre-trial detention centres in accordance with international standards. Besides, the country has set about to train new specialists for the penal system so that, as Chaika put it, "execution of sentences could have a human face." An inspection of Moscow's pre-trial detention centres, conducted earlier in the year, "revealed no complaints about the custody regime and conditions." According to the information of the justice ministry, the number of convicts has dropped by almost 100,000 people. Specialists say that penal reform will allow the country reduce the number of its convicts by 200,000-250,000 people annually.

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