Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

In Russia, Prisons for Police Thrive

Posted by Info on 30/05/2011

Correctional Colony 13 – all the inmates at this prison compound here in western Russia — some 2,000 of them — are former policemen, prosecutors, tax inspectors, customs agents and judges. Most of the inmates are here for work-related infractions, from accepting bribes to attacking suspects.

Interior Minister Rashid G. Nurgaliyev said that more than a third of the senior officers — 94 out of 250 — vetted by an anticorruption committee this spring failed to adequately address the committee’s questions. Many own property despite their former jobs’ small salaries.“We never knew it before now,” a member of the vetting committee told the newspaper that the property ranged from “mere apartments to colossal objects all over the world.”

No matter the prisoners’ back stories, Correctional Colony 13 offers a view of how troubled Russia’s criminal justice system has become.
The former officers spoke matter-of-factly about what they identified as a key reason they became corrupt or abusive: tiny salaries that fed frustration and made side payments a welcome supplement.
Some still seemed bewildered at being punished for actions they assumed were widely accepted Russian police practice.
Mr. Shumilov, the former police detective serving seven years for what he described as meting out bruises, said he was merely trying to crack a car-theft ring. Aleksei K. Bushuyev, 46, a rotund ex-traffic inspector, said he took bribes to cover the upkeep of his Lada police cruiser, and not a ruble more.

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