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Russia Needs More Prisons For Convicted Police Officers, Official Says

Maksim Yablokov (right) a correctional officer, attends a hearing at Yaroslavl's Zavolzhsky district court on July 25.
Maksim Yablokov (right) a correctional officer, attends a hearing at Yaroslavl's Zavolzhsky district court on July 25.

A top official of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) says the country needs more prisons to hold police officers and other law enforcement agents who have been convicted of crimes.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio that was broadcast on November 13, FSIN's deputy head said that two new prisons for former law enforcement officers built in 2018 were already full and "more must be opened."

"The number of [corrective] colonies for ordinary people is decreasing, decreasing dramatically," Maksimenko said, using a formal term for penitentiaries where convicts are sent.

"But the number of colonies for former police is sharply increasing," he said. "It is some kind of tendency; it looks like an anticorruption effort is under way, a cleansing is under way."

Maksimenko's remarks may reflect a rise in those numbers, but they could also be meant to convince Russians that President Vladimir Putin's government is tackling the long-standing problem of police violence and corruption.

While he gave overall figures for Russia's prison population, he provided no figures for the number of law enforcement officers who have been imprisoned in recent years.

Abuses by police, prison guards, and other law enforcement officers have long been a problem.

The issue has been in the spotlight in recent months over incidents such as the beating by several guards of an inmate at a prison in Yaroslavl, which was captured in video footage.

Makismenko said that there were about 1 million people in Russian prisons when he started working at FSIN in 2012, and that that number had decreased to about 470,000.

According to FSIN statistics, as of November 1 there were about 571,000 inmates in Russian prisons and jails -- about 31,200 fewer than a year earlier.

Of the 571,000, about 468,000 are convicts in prisons, while most of the rest are in pretrial detention centers.

With reporting by Ekho Moskvy and RBK
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