Russian Justice Minister Notes Harsher Penalties Trend Worldwide

A tendency can be observed worldwide of governments meting out increasingly harsh penalties, Russian Justice Minister Yuri Chaika said in a report delivered to the 24th European Justice Ministers Conference held in Moscow. He noted that the prison population has grown markedly in most European countries, a shift twinned with an increasing percentage of convicts sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. A tendency of harsher penal legislation is also noticeable, he said. The Russian Minister pointed out that these developments have entailed a growing pressure on penitentiary institutions, with human and material resources becoming increasingly scarce. Chaika urged his counterparts to negotiate a common approach to defining the concepts of "felony" and "long imprisonment" to address the problem. He went on to discuss inmates and personnel security issues, the problem of the accommodation and treatment of HIV-positive inmates and of disciplining and punishing convicts.

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