Overhauling Russian Penitentiary System

The Russian crime-investigation and penitentiary system annually deals with 5 million people; their number includes some 3 million prison-camp inmates, as well as nearly 2 million staying inside detention centers. This was disclosed to reporters on RIA Novosti premises today by Russia's Deputy Justice Minister, Yury Kalinin. According to Kalinin, the national crime-investigation and penitentiary system must be overhauled along the following three lines. First of all, we must enhance that system's material-technical base just because most violations of inmates' rights and those of other detainees have to do with lack of money and a rundown infrastructure. Secondly, we must ensure a more humane security regime, as well as more humane prison-camp conditions, Kalinin went on to say. As of today, Russian prison camps have nearly 963,000 inmates; another 439,000 persons, whose offenses don't entail prison terms, are registered with the police. We are already making some moves in this field, he stressed; for example, 129,000 convicts were pardoned last year, with another 48,000 people leaving detention centers. The amnesty didn't affect the overall crime situation, what with repeat offenders accounting for just about 4 percent of all local crimes, Kalinin told those present. Thirdly, we must provide social security for our personnel; the decision to transfer prison camps under the Russian Justice Ministry's jurisdiction was correct, Kalinin said in conclusion.

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