Posted 25 января 09:34

Published 25 января 09:34

Modified 25 января 13:52

Updated 25 января 13:52

Captivity Corporation: prisoners in the colonies have significantly increased their work

25 января 2023, 09:34
Production workshops in correctional colonies are breaking records by the end of 2022. Among other things, sanctions and THEIR own have affected. Human rights activists, of course, are happy about the economic breakthrough, but they are concerned: outside the walls of the IC, everything is already difficult with respect for civil rights. And it will get even worse.
Сюжет
Sanctions

Yekaterina Maximova

As of January 1, 2022, there were 465 thousand 896 people in institutions of the penitentiary system. As of October 1, 453 thousand 188 people (-12.7 thousand people) were already held in the FSIN system. According to official data of the Federal Penitentiary Service, by November 1, the number of prisoners had sharply decreased again - about 439 thousand 450 people (- 26.4 thousand by January 1, 2022). In the entire history of the FSIN, the prison population has never been reduced so sharply and in a matter of months.

But the past year for the Russian penitentiary system will be remembered by others. Correctional institutions have significantly increased industrial production over the past year.

For example, the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Sverdlovsk region (there are more than 20 thousand prisoners in the region) produced products worth 2,748 billion rubles by the end of 2022. The growth by 2021 was 18%. The output of the garment industry alone increased by 136 million rubles in monetary terms compared to 2021 (507 million rubles versus 371 million rubles). About 8350 thousand convicts (+368 people) are involved in labor. Such data were given to Novye Izvestia by the press service of the GUFSIN in the Sverdlovsk region.

The GUFSIN for the Krasnoyarsk Territory for the incomplete 2022 year stated that the work was carried out by 3.183 billion rubles, which is 11% more than in the previous period. And the list of industrial victories in places not so remote can be continued: most of the individual correctional colonies (IC) throughout the country have increased their pace. And in Russia as a whole, prisoners annually produce products worth tens of billions of rubles.

In most colonies, sewing production, production of building materials, woodworking, metalworking, etc. traditionally work. In recent years, and at all levels of government, it has been about strengthening the industrial potential "behind bars". Including by attracting business.

And as noted by the Doctor of Economics Joseph N., it so happened that in 2022 this program showed results.

"Two factors influenced. The first is to increase the technological level. Including due to the fact that many industrial enterprises concluded an agreement with the GUFSIN and specific colonies. The factory is a whole manufacturing empire, where manufacturing companies, seeking to reduce the cost of their products, supplied equipment, raw materials and materials, and prisoners were given the opportunity to earn and develop production. The second factor is that niches have opened up for the products that were produced in IC. These are not high-tech products, and the demand for them was quite high," said Diskin.

As an example, he cited the departure of many foreign companies from Russia, including IKEA.

"For example, a niche has been opened in the furniture manufacturing market. And the production facilities that were created in the camps turned out to be in demand. And accordingly, there was growth. Garment production - with the departure of foreign brands, the whole structure of light industry has changed. There is a demand for domestic products. Including the products of domestic designers. Companies placed production in colonies where careful finishing of seams was not required and so on, where extras are needed. As a result, of course, there was an increase in production," explained Joseph Diskin.

It is impossible to calculate which types of industry showed the most noticeable growth at the end of last year. But according to indirect signs, it was the woodworking and textile industry that "shot" behind the barbed wire.

The number of large customers of IC traditionally includes medical institutions, oil and gas corporations, military, law enforcement, and law enforcement agencies. "All products (textile, furniture, woodworking, metalworking) are supplied to customers. They can supply it according to their contracts. Also, in most cases, the concept of a trade secret is valid," the press service of the GUFSIN of the Sverdlovsk region clarified.

Several interlocutors of Novye Izvestia from the FSIN system confirmed that the loading in 2022 was most noticeably affected by orders from the Ministry of Defense.

There are no separate statistics on the volume of products produced for military personnel, but representatives of regional departments periodically reported successes in this field. "The IK-3 sewing enterprise quickly and efficiently fulfilled a large order for sewing clothing for military personnel. <...> In a short time, more than 74,000 pieces of sewing products were manufactured. The range of products produced for the participants of the SVO included winter camouflage suits, sleeping bags and underwear," reported, for example, last autumn, the Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Krasnodar Territory.

Continuation of the GULAG tradition

The representative of the expert council under the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Valentin Gefter, fears: at this rate, the risks of worsening the eternal problems of prison production - irregular working hours, minimum wages, industrial injuries increase.

"At the sewing shop, women have always complained that their shift lasts 12 hours, and they pay little. A lot of injuries, even minor ones. Unfortunately, this part of prison life has fallen out of observation altogether. Where do observers usually go? Mostly in jail. If in a colony, they visit residential areas, canteens, libraries of colonies… And much less attention is paid to industrial zones. And this is very serious. And prisoners spend a lot of time there," says human rights activist Gefter. And he notes that this area of prison life requires strengthening not only state control, but also public control.

Valery Borshche, Chairman of the Board of the Moscow Regional public organization Social Partnership Foundation, also emphasizes that the observance of prisoners' labor rights is a big problem. "I cannot say that they are well respected - labor rights. Alas, alas, there are a lot of inconsistencies," Borshchev said.

Human rights activist Ivan Melniko gave one vivid example of "such a discrepancy".

"It was a colony-settlement in Zelenograd. Some prisoners came up to us with their calculations and showed us 500 rubles. For a month. And people worked in heavy production for the processing of plastic windows in the mode of 12 hours six days a week. This is the city of Moscow, so that you understand. And what's next is unknown. And no one was punished for those ill-fated 500 rubles, for a salary not even at the minimum wage level. And this violation is out of the ordinary. And still many prisoners say that they receive an order of magnitude less than any minimum amount of labor. Although it is declared that they receive enough," says Ivan Melnikov.

Olga Kiyutsina, an expert on prison economics, noted that "prison-production" accounting is extremely difficult to obtain information. And in general, this part of the life of the penitentiary system is as opaque and corruption-intensive as possible. And the working conditions of prisoners, Kiyutsina emphasizes, have always been a big problem in the colonies.

"This is all a continuation of the GULAG tradition. They can't get rid of it in any way. And increasing the burden on working prisoners is illegal," adds Valery Borshchev. The same analogy was given by Ivan Melnikov: "GULAG. The prisoners are building the same BAM again. It's not a secret, the Federal Penitentiary Service and Russian Railways have concluded a corresponding agreement. Have you heard a lot that you have allowed independent human rights defenders to check what is happening there on BAM?".

And, according to the human rights activist, the system of independent public control in the country has actually been destroyed. There are no public monitoring commissions, non-profit organizations that could visit prisons at any time and make their own independent report in the country this afternoon with fire.