In 2006 741 prisoners died in Ukrainian penal colonies
Of the 741 deaths in penal institutions in 2006, 44 people committed suicide. These are the figures given by the State Department for the Execution of Sentences in response to a request for information from the human rights organizations “Donetsk Memorial”.
This number was 127 down on the figure for the previous year, making the mortality rate in penal institutions 4.6 per thousand inmates, while in 2005 this was 5.08. Furthermore, at the end of 2006, the number of prisoners in Ukraine was 160.7 thousand. In 2004, 808 people died in penal institutions, however the number of people imprisoned was greater – 188.5 thousand.
The number of suicides has remained constant over the last four years, varying between 40 (in 2005) and 44 cases (in 2004 and 2006). It should be remembered that in 2006 there were several cases of group suicide attempts. These cases are not viewed by the management of the State Department as having been serious, and the Department claims that the inmates did not suffer any significant damage to their health.
With regard to the reasons prompting prisoners to risk their life, the State Department was able to offer any other explanation but the desire of the inmates to in this way “avoid punishment for the crimes committed”, and to “influence the administration of the institutions in order to lighten the established conditions”.