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Number of prisoners in Russia hits record low

Number of prisoners in Russia hits record low
Russia enjoys a record-low number of inmates, thanks to “humanization” of the penal code, deputy chief of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has said, adding that the number of jailed people is expected to shrink further.

Over the past few years, the number of inmates in Russia has dropped by nearly 250,000, the FSIN deputy head, Valeriy Maksimenko, told journalists on Friday.

Currently, 467,000 people are serving jail terms, which is the lowest number in modern Russian history.

Apart from that, some 100,000 are in pre-trial and police custody, Maksimenko added. While the figure appears to be quite big, the number of such people actually shrank two-fold, compared to six years ago.

The decline in the number of the prisoners is the tangible result of “humanization” of Russian legislation, the official said. The number of inmates is expected to shrink further, as the authorities seek to put people behind bars only for capital offences, committed “against individual or state.”

A new law, signed by Vladimir Putin this summer, has also contributed to the reduction of inmate numbers, according to Maksimenko.

READ MORE: ‘Barrier to extremist ideology’: Russian prisons to isolate terrorists from other inmates

The legislation has set new rules for re-calculating time spent in pre-trial detention into jail days after sentencing. A day spent in pre-trial custody now counts as 1.5 days in jail for general security prisoners and as two days for low-security ones. For maximum and special-security prisoners, sentenced for serious and violent crimes, however, it goes day-for-day only. The new legislation has had a retroactive effect, and convicts had their jail time re-calculated according to the new rules.

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