According to forecasts, the number of convicts in Russia will diminish in a year

By 2005, the number of the convicts in Russia will diminish by 150,000, said the chief of the Main Penalty Department of the Russian Ministry of Justice (GUIN), Vladimir Yalunin, at the Russian-French scientific-judicial meeting on Thursday. At the present time, according to the data of the Department, there are some 870,000 convicts in Russia.

According to Yalunin, in Russia "appropriate bodies continue to work on perfecting the legislation aimed at humanising the criminal policy of the state with regard to the persons who committed minor crimes, and also the system of punishment as a whole." "As an alternative to imprisonment, life in colonies with restricted freedom and obligatory work will be used," explained the head of the Main Penalty Department.

Vladimir Yalunin added that already now "the procedure of parole has been changed, and the Federal Law of October 31, 2002 lowered down the maximum term for thefts committed for the first time and for minor thefts." "This measure has made it possible to considerably improve the legal situation for the numerous category of infringers upon the law who do not pose a serious danger to society," underscored Vladimir Yalunin.

"The measures taken by the state on humanising the criminal policy resulted in 2002 in the reduction of the number of persons in the places of detention by 130,000, including in the pre-trial detention centres - by 66,000. And the conditions of the keeping of 5,000 people under investigation have thus improved," concluded Vladimir Yalunin.

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