Number of Prisoners in Ukraine Grew but Not Critically So – Expert
The number of prisoners in Ukraine is growing after nearly two and a half years of steady decline.
Thus, according to data on June 1, 2015 the number of convicted decreased nearly twice in comparison with January 1, 2015 (from 147 112 people to 71220).
Olexander Bukalov, representative of “Donetsk Memorial” human rights organization, shared this information with the reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre.
According to Bukalov the decline was going on for more than two years. The first reason for such a phenomena is the change to the code of criminal procedure, which led to decrease in the number of people in pre-trial detention centres, and correspondingly convicts sent to penal establishements to serve their sentence.
Apart from that, some more factors influenced the situation, one of them being events on the East of the country and in the Crimea.
“Three thousand convicts in the Crimea were “bitten off” plus about 15-16 thousand on the occupied territories”, – Bukalov comments.
The third factor is that because of the events in Donbas the system tools “providing” places of confinement with convicts are practically not working there.
“For example, normally if someone stole something he was condemned in Alchevsk and sent to a penal establishment but that’s not what happening there right now “, – explains the representative of “Donetsk Memorial”.
Since 2013 human rights organization “Donetsk Memorial” has been conducting a survey and found out that because of these factors the number of convicts decreased by 1500 people monthly.
“This decrease has significantly slowed down for the last three months but the tendency towards the decline still remained. Now this potential is exhausted. We have reached “the balance”: the number of convicts is equal to the number of people released after serving their sentence. Maybe next month there will be 200 people less, other month – 300 people more. This is only a fluctuation…”, – Bukalov says.
The expert also claims that it is impossible to make assumptions about the criminalization of society by using these figures only.
“Current number of convicts reflects the situation with great delay. Today they send to serve their sentence people who committed a crime in October-November 2013, before the Maydan events”, – emphasizes Bukalov.
According to penitentiary service data on July 1, 2015 in 148 establishments of penal service, under Ukrainian authorities there were 71 327 people (month ago – 71 220 people, which is 107 people less).
In 29 pre-trial prisons and detention centres there were 16 339 people on July 1 (16 017 people month ago or 322 people less).
In adult establishments 54 988 convicts are kept (month ago there were 54 597 convicts ore 391 person less).