RUSSIALINK: “FSIN reports another record drop in Russian prison population” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Aug 13 (Interfax) – The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has reported another drop in the population of Russian penitentiaries and pretrial detention facilities.

“The number of imprisoned convicts, suspects and defendants is at all-time low,” the FSIN press bureau said in a statement seen by Interfax on Thursday.

The number of incarcerated persons has reduced to less than 500,000 for the first time, it said.

“The population of penitentiary institutions currently stands at 496,791, including people held in pretrial detention facilities on suspicion of perpetrating a crime and convicts serving time in penitentiaries,” the press bureau said.

The population of correctional institutions is down to 391,614 as against “at least 463,000 in the beginning of last year,” it said.

“The recent years have exhibited a trend of the stable decline in the number of incarcerated persons due to the broad use of alternative, non-custodial punishments and the general liberalization of the penitentiary system,” the press bureau said.

The number of people “sentenced to incarceration multiple times and having two, three or more convictions” reduced by a third over the past five years, it said.

“First time offenders have also shown positive dynamics. Over the reporting period, the number of first offenders in correctional institutions reduced 26%,” the press bureau said.

“Actually, the number of offenders has not reduced, but punishments have become milder. The population of penitentiaries is reducing but the number of persons on probation is growing,” it said.

Head of the Federal Penitentiary Service’s Department of Alternative and Noncustodial Punishments Yelena Korobkova said in an interview with Interfax earlier that the share of noncustodial punishments in Russia had reached 70% of all sentences as a result of legislative liberalization of recent years.