In Russian pre-trial detention centers the limit of prisoners has been exceeded: why so many detainees?

In Russian pre-trial detention centers the limit of prisoners has been exceeded: why so many detainees?
In Russian pre-trial detention centers the limit of prisoners has been exceeded: why so many detainees?
25 August, 13:16Society
Russian pre-trial detention centers are overcrowded. This is stated by experts, employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service, and human rights activists. The conditions of detention in many cases are extremely difficult, the prisoners get sick en masse. What is the reason for the excess number of prisoners in Russian prisons and pre-trial detention centers?

Irina Mishina

“There are mattresses on the floor, it’s stuffy, the ventilation doesn’t work, the windows are boarded up, the prisoners are in shorts because of the heat, but this doesn’t help. Prisoners in such heat are massively ill with some kind of cold, perhaps it is a coronavirus. At the same time, PCR is not taken from them. When the pre-trial detention center is full, the infection spreads instantly. There are no medicines. In terms of overcrowding, pre-trial detention center No. 5 Vodnik is in first place in Moscow, Butyrka is in second, then Matrosskaya Tishina. But there is a prison hospital in Matrosskaya Tishina, which is also taken into account when counting the number of prisoners, which reduces the numbers. In pre-trial detention center -5 Vodnik, the limit of prisoners was exceeded by 34%, in Butyrka by 29%, in Matrosskaya Tishina by more than 20, ”said Eva Merkacheva, a human rights activist and member of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society and human rights, to NI. .

At the same time, it is reported that as of August 1, 114,172 people were kept in Russian pre-trial detention centers, although the isolation wards in the country are designed for a total of 118,495 people. “The total filling limit has not been exceeded,” concluded the Federal Penitentiary Service. At the same time, the Federal Penitentiary Service emphasized that in May the situation was even worse: then 545 more people were kept in Russian pre-trial detention centers. At the same time, according to Eva Merkecheva, a member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society, there is a “terrible limit” in Moscow pre-trial detention centers, they are designed for 9 thousand people, but there are now 2,786 more prisoners there.

Chronic overcrowding of pre-trial detention centers is also confirmed in other regions. So, in the Krasnodar Territory, the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service recognizes constant overcrowding. The limit has now been exceeded by at least 700 people. There are reports of "overlimit" in the pre-trial detention center of St. Petersburg, the Leningrad region, as well as the Crimea and the Irkutsk region.

What is the reason? After all, the Ministry of Internal Affairs periodically reports on a decrease in crime. Not so long ago, the Russian Interior Ministry reported on the state of crime in the country in January-July this year. The department noted a decrease in the total number of registered crimes by almost two percent, including grave and especially grave crimes by more than 6 percent.

At the same time, the Investigative Committee of Russia, on the contrary, reports an increase in the number of serious crimes. According to Alexander Bastrykin , the Investigative Committee of Russia records an increase in the number of serious and extremist crimes, in particular, committed by migrants in the first half of 2022:


There is an increase in the number of murders, rapes, kidnappings, and extremist sentiments are spreading."

According to Alexander Bastrykin, crimes committed by foreigners in 2021 are almost 6% more than in 2020. At the same time, almost 8 thousand crimes were committed by labor migrants, more than 2.8 thousand by illegal ones. In the first half of 2022, 21,048 thousand crimes were investigated, and this also indicates an increase in crime by 10% compared to the same period last year.

Behind these sad statistics are hundreds of prisoners. But the reasons for the overcrowding of the pre-trial detention center are not only in the growth in the number of violent and especially serious crimes.

“In Moscow and other large cities, more and more arrests are made for economic crimes, which in general do not pose a threat to society. But there are other preventive measures, in addition to imprisonment in a pre-trial detention center - house arrest, bail, undertaking not to leave. But the last 2 years there is a tendency to arrest everyone. The law enforcement system and the courts began to go too far. As a result, people get sick and die in overcrowded pre-trial detention centers. The conditions there are really difficult: unsanitary conditions, lack of oxygen, and everyone is placed there, including the sick and the elderly. Nevertheless, the investigating authorities need to use other preventive measures , ”said NI Major General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, retired, a federal expert accredited to the Ministry of Justice Mansur Yusupov.

Experts draw attention to the fact that the investigating authorities began to work worse.

“The investigation is proceeding slowly, the Moscow City Court has been considering appeals for more than a year, this has never happened before. And yes, they began to plant everyone in a row, ”says Eva Merkacheva, a member of the presidential council for the development of civil society.

Another reason for the protracted and not always high-quality work of the law enforcement system is the outflow of investigators and the shortage of police officers in key departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Last year alone, the number of resigned investigators increased by 34%. This was stated by the head of the department Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

“The issue of shortages is also relevant for the patrol service, the criminal investigation department, drug control units and economic security. That is, in all key areas,” the Interior Minister stated.

“Personnel problem in law enforcement agencies really exists today. The load of investigators is very high, they work for 24 hours, as a result they can not stand it and quit. And this is against the background of an increase in the number of violent crimes. Added and convicted of espionage. The State Duma has recently expanded this concept, as a result, the number of suspects and convicts under this article has increased. In the USSR, there were 2 main articles, according to which they were condemned for treason and a threat to its security - Art. 70 and Art. 190 of the Criminal Code: "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" and "dissemination of deliberately false fabrications discrediting the Soviet state and social system." They quite clearly defined the elements of the crime, and despite this, the courts against them took a long time, were resonant, and it was not so easy to find a person guilty on them. And now we have quite a lot of disputable articles according to which a person can be considered a spy or a slanderer of Russia,” believes retired Lieutenant General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Alexander Mikhailov.

There is another point that our law enforcement system seems to have forgotten. This is crime prevention. Retired Lieutenant General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Alexander Mikhailov recalls : “Under the USSR, crime prevention was in the first place. The chairman of the KGB of the USSR, Andropov, I remember, said: “It is easy to imprison a person. But having planted, we will get 20 more of the same, these are his relatives and friends. Therefore, it is easier to prevent a crime.”

True, the Ministry of Internal Affairs took a peculiar path. Order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs No. 356 states that citizens will even be paid money for helping to solve crimes and detain criminals. A person can work as a programmer, a teacher, a mechanic, a security guard, or be a pensioner, but if he helps solve a crime, he can receive a reward. True, this turned out to be quite strange this year - basically, the “exposing” of active municipal deputies who are not members of United Russia, who, on the eve of the elections on September 11, were massively deprived of mandates by the court and found guilty under the same article. Dozens of self-nominated candidates and representatives of opposition parties were deprived of the right to run this year under Art. 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses ( public demonstration of the symbols of extremist organizations, propaganda or public demonstration of which is prohibited by federal laws) according to statements by vigilant "activists" who suddenly, before the elections, found on the pages of candidates for mundeps in social networks for 2019 (!) logos of "Smart Voting" * ( recognized as an extremist organization ). At the same time, the "activists" showed not only an enviable zeal, but also solvency, paying 15 thousand rubles of state duty for the applications they submitted.

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