The number of inmates in penal colonies and pre-trial detention facilities in Russia has reached a record low of less than 500,000, the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) told TASS on Thursday.
“Today, there are 496,791 people in the correctional facilities. These are both citizens, who are in pre-trial detention facilities on suspicion of committing crimes, and convicts in penal colonies,” the federal prison authority said.
The number of convicts in penal colonies totaled 391,614 versus 463,000 early last year.
Lately, Russia has seen a trend of a stable decline in the number of individuals kept behind bars. “This is linked to a broad use of alternative penalty without imprisonment and the liberalization of the penal and correctional policy in general,” the FSIN explained.
In the past several years, the share of alternative penalty reached more than 70% of the total number of rulings on criminal cases. In the past five years, the number of inmates in penal colonies with two, three or more convictions has declined by one-third. The federal prison authority notes a positive trend concerning individuals convicted for the first time. The number of these people in penal colonies dropped 26% since 2015.
Meanwhile, the number of individuals who are on file in the corrective services is on the rise, the FSIN said. Since 2018, this figure has exceeded 1 million per year and it keeps growing.