170 Russian prisons to be closed due to 10% cut in staff

MOSCOW, February 28 - RAPSI. 

The 10% cut in staff in the Russian penitentiary system may result in the closure of 170 penal colonies, Gennady Korniyenko, Chief of the Federal Penitentiary Service, announced at the service's panel meeting on Thursday.

Korniyenko said that prisons may close because the cut back in staff will undermine their stable operation.

He also noted that prison closures may lead to legal violations. With today's number of prisoners, the prisons would be 74,000 places short - and as a result, "the deterioration in conditions will violate their rights and interests."

As of February 1, 2013, there are 697,500 prisoners in Russia.

This figure includes almost 580,400 people in 739 penal colonies, 38,900 people in 130 penal settlements, and 1,800 people in five penal colonies for prisoners sentenced for life.

Additionally, there are 113,200 people held in 230 detention facilities and 165 facilities used for pre-trial detention at penal colonies, 900 people in seven jails and 2,300 people in 46 penal colonies for underage criminals.


Over 4,000 inmates died behind bars in Russia in 2012

MOSCOW, February 28 – RAPSI. 

Over 4,000 prison inmates died in Russia last year, Magomed Rasulov, a spokesman for the Prosecutor-General’s Office said while addressing a meeting of the Federal Penitentiary Service Board Thursday.

Rasulov did not cite any comparative statistics for 2011.

He added that Russia’s pre-trial detention centers, investigation wards and penitentiaries lacked the proper medical equipment. Most of the equipment they do have dates to the 1970s and 80s and has fallen into decay.

The infamous Magnitsky case highlights the major problems in the Russian penal system.

Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor for the London-based Hermitage Capital investment fund, who was arrested on November 24, 2008 on suspicion of masterminding large-scale corporate tax evasion, died at a Moscow pretrial detention center on November 16, 2009, after spending a year behind bars.

Federal prosecutors claimed that Magnitsky died of heart failure.

Magnitsky's death caused an international public outcry and triggered amendments to the Criminal Code and a reshuffling of officials in the penal system.

In its aftermath, the US Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, a law stipulating sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights abuses.


International Centre for Prison Studies

Ministry responsible Ministry of Justice
Prison administration Federal Service for the Implementation of Punishment
Contact address Zhitnaya street 14, GSP-1, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation
Telephone/fax/website tel: +7 095 982 1900
fax: +7 095 982 1930
Web: www.minjust.ru
Head of prison administration
(and title)
Gennadiy Kornienko
Prison population total
(including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)
at 1.1.2013 (national prison administration)
Prison population rate
(per 100,000 of national population)
based on an estimated national population of 143.2 million at beginning of 2013 (from Russian State Statistics Committee figures)
Pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners
(percentage of prison population)
(31.12.2009 - United Nations 12th survey of crime trends etc.)
Female prisoners
(percentage of prison population)
Juveniles / minors / young prisoners
incl. definition (percentage of prison population)
(1.1.2010 - under 18)
Foreign prisoners
(percentage of prison population)
Number of establishments /
(1.9.2012 - 746 corrective colonies, 230 pre-trial 'SIZO's, 7 prisons, 46 juvenile colonies)
Official capacity of prison system 949,445
Occupancy level (based on official
Recent prison population trend
(year, prison population total, prison population rate)
1992 722,636 (487)
1995 920,685 (622)
1998 1,009,863 (688)
2001 925,072 (636)
2004 847,004 (588)
2007 871,609 (613)
2010 864,197 (609)