11.11.2005 | Volodymyr Yavorskiy, Kyiv

While ill-treatment continues, the State wastes money


State Representatives frequently explain the pitiful conditions in Ukrainian prisons as due to the absence of proper financing. Yet, it seems that this is not an honest explanation, but rather the usual rhetoric of a totalitarian country, which does not respect people behind bars.

The Chamber of Accounting of Ukraine conducted a check on spending in the penal system of Ukraine and financing of the reform of this system in 2004, and came to the conclusion that the funds were being spent unmethodically and, frequently, not for the purposes stipulated by legislation. In other words, great sums (164.1 million hryvnas, among them 150.8 million hryvnas from the state budget) were spent not on the development and improvement of the system, but, mostly, on its administrative functioning.

At that the conditions of upkeep of convicts were not improved noticeably. The present capacity of penal establishments is 158605 places, but the number of imprisoned is 191241 persons, so the deficit of places for keeping of the convicts in comparison with the available capacity is 20.5%. I want to repeat that these are the official data.

In spite of the deficit of places in investigatory isolation wards (5018 places), not a single place was created during 2004, although the creation of 1250 places was envisaged this year.

Out of 1200 places, which were planned to create for the upkeep of persons condemned to life imprisonment, 1062 places were created in the presence of 1099 condemned of this category.

Repair of 1364 buildings, engineering networks and constructions, objects of the budget sphere was planned, but only 330 objects (24.2%) were repaired.

The question of adequate provision with medical equipment is not solved too. At that, contrary to the demands of Article 16 of the Fundamentals of the Ukrainian legislation on health protection and Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 765 of 15 July 1997 «On the approval of the Order of state accreditation of health protection establishments», 168 health protection establishments of the Department were not accredited as such establishments and had no accreditation certificate, so they realized their activities without any official recognition of the status of health protection establishments, the conditions for rendering of proper medical-sanitary aid, confirmation of their conformity with the prescribed criteria and guarantees of high quality of professional activities.

The problem of provision with dwelling of workers of the Department was not solved satisfactorily. As many as 2892 families of personnel of the criminal-executive system have no proper dwelling, and more than 1000 flats are suspended in the protracted building.

One should also realize that great sums are spent inefficiently, purchase of goods and services at too high prices, some groceries are purchased without the proper quality certificates and the work of several absolutely unprofitable enterprises is supported.

These figures and facts evidence that the matter is not in money, but in the persons, who spend the money, and the ways, in which this money is spent. Unfortunately, the new Head of State penitentiary department does not improve the situation, but worsens it in some aspects, in particular in the sphere of cooperation with non-governmental organizations, which get less and less opportunities for work in penitentiary establishments.

In fact, this report confirms the presence of inhumane and cruel treatment of prisoners in Ukraine, as well as the lack of  efficient state policy for overcoming of this phenomena.

24 October 2005

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