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Several prisons in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region to close because army recruitment has led to fewer prisoners, official says

Source: Meduza

Mark Denisov, the human rights commissioner for Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, said Thursday that several prisons in the region are slated to be shut down in 2024, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported.

At a Krasnoyarsk legislative assembly meeting, Denisov said the decision is a response to a recent decrease in the number of prisoners in the region.

I will highlight one alarming trend: the large one-time reduction in the number of convicts resulting from the special military operation has prompted someone to report [to the federal authorities] about the need to close penitentiary facilities for the purpose of optimization and cost-cutting. A number of institutions will be closed in our region this year. Two of the most well-known are in Areiskoye and Gromadsk.

According to Kommersant, the village of Gromadsk is currently home to a prison for men who have previously served a prison sentence elsewhere, while the village of Areiskoye contains a penal colony for first-time offenders.

Denisov said that the prisons are the main employers in these villages and that their closures could cause serious problems. He also argued that the need for them will return in the future.

“[The war] will end sooner or later. Everything will return to normal. After all, the structure of Russian society hasn’t changed,” the news outlet Prospekt Mira quoted the commissioner as saying.

In November 2022, about 100 convicts from the prison in Areiskoye were sent to fight in Ukraine as part of Wagner Group. Over the last year, Russia’s Defense Ministry has increasingly been recruiting prisoners to serve in the military in exchange for amnesty.

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