Duma officials show interest in prisoners’ opinion

Inmates in Chelyabinsk Region take part in a poll to be reviewed by a State Duma working group

An unusual survey is being conducted in the penal colonies of Chelyabinsk Region, says Vladimir Osechkin, head of the State Duma working group for the protection of prisoners’ rights. He suggests that, in the near future, all Russian prisoners could obtain such questionnaires.

Based on the questions posed to the convicts, FSIN (the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment) has actually admitted that, in the prisons and pre-detention centers, inmates have different ranks. Prisoners are also given an opportunity on the survey to express their attitudes about “lookers” (the people who actually control the order in the cell) and criminal traditions.

On the questionnaire, there are a few questions that deal with the psychological state of inmates. For example, there are questions about how a prisoner feels (lonely, depressed, etc.) and what he fears most at the moment (aggression from other inmates, injustice on the part of the colony’s employees, losing connection with his family, etc.).

Experts say that this poll is related to the study of the general situation in prisons, which gained more attention after a major prisoners’ riot last year. Osechkin plans to submit this document to be reviewed by the State Duma working group for the protection of prisoners’ rights.

There have been no official comments from the FSIN in relation to this survey. However, in early September, the head of the FSIN Research Institute (SRI), Vyacheslav Selivyorstov, said that his experts conducted a survey, which showed conditions in detention centers in the past 10-15 years have improved.

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