By 2006 number of prisoners in Russia to decline by 15-20%

By 2006 as a result of new alternative types of punishment the number of prisoners in Russia will decline by 15-20%, said Deputy Director of the Punishments Administration Oleg Filimonov. He said that amendments were made to the criminal code in January 2002 which provided for alternative forms of punishment including mandatory work.

Filimonov said that an additional 47 thousand jail cells are planned to be built for those on trial and under investigation. He said that the additional spaces would be created from not only newly constructed cells but also renovating old cells. 'We are taking on the problem of providing human rights and freedoms. Ex-convicts must re-enter society as normal members of society,' he said. Filimonov also said that prisons and correctional institutes must complete 'functions of rehabilitating ex-convicts.'

Filimonov also said that over the last three years government budget financing of the criminal corrections system has increased by three times. While at the same time, the number of those on trial and under investigation over the last two years has dropped by 237 thousand people.

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