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22.05.2000 | A.Bukalov, Donetsk

Penal policy towards minors in the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe and Middle Asia

   

In the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe and Middle Asia the penal policy towards minors substantially differs. It is influenced by national traditions and by opinions of the political leadership as to reforming penitentiary systems of these countries. These differences are clearly visible in the number of minors kept in the penitentiaries.

In order to characterize each country we shall use two indicators: the number of minors in the penitentiaries per 100 thousand population and the number of convicted minors per one thousand of convicts. The statistical information on these parameters is given in the following table.



Country
Total number of convicts, in thousands Number of convicted minors Number of convicted minors per 100000 population Number of convicted minors per one thousand of convicts


Armenia


6.596


41


1.2


0.6


Bosnia and Herzegovina


0.769


12


0.5


1.6


Georgia


7.332


<100


<1.8


<1.3


Bulgaria


11.828


142


1.6


1.2


Azerbaijan


26


160


2.4


0.6


Tadjikistan


6


150


3.2


2.4


Mongolia


6.337


108


7


1.7


Ukraine


227


3500


7


1.5


Kazakhstan


84


1100


6.5


1.3


Czechia


21.56


522


4.8


2.4


Estonia


4.328


201


13


4.6


Poland


54.477


13 693*


34*


25*


Romania


45.121


2.611


11


5.8


Latvia


9.409


482


18


5


Moldova


10.485


872**


21**


8.3**


Russia


999


40000


27


4


Belarus


58.3


2000


20


3.4


Turkmenistan


20


800


17


4


Uzbekistan


55


2000


10


36


* up to 24 years of age

** up to 21 years of age

It follows from the table that the listed countries may be subdivided into three groups.

The first group consists of Transcaucasian countries, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these countries not more than 150 minors stay in prisons. Their proportion in the total number of convicts is negligible. In Bosnia and Herzegovina only 2 youths are convicted and 10 are the objects of the ODA. They are kept either in the only reformatory or in the special department of the colony for adults.

The composition of the second group, for which our indexes are neither too large nor small, may seem rather unexpected. This group contains Tadjikistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Czechia. In these countries the number of minor convicts for 100 thousand population does not exceed 7, the proportion of minors in the total prison population is also not large: from 1.3% in Kazakhstan to 2.4% in Tadjikistan and Czechia. In Kazakhstan there are only 3 reformatories, in Ukraine — 11 reformatories, one of which is for girls (their number is 190). In Czechia those under investigation count 350 (339 youths and 11 girls) from the total number of 522. The rest, already convicted, contains only 5 girls.

The third group is rather diverse as to its composition. The proportion of convicted minors per 100 thousand of population is rather high — from 11 in Romania to 13 in Estonia, 20 in Belarus and 27 in Russia. The data for Uzbekistan are counted only relative to the already convicted, if to add those who are under ODA, the index can grow by 1.5 – 2 times. For Moldova and Poland the indexes are higher because they have another age level for minors. Before the introduction of the new Penal-Executive Code the upper level was 21, not 24 years of age, and then the number of the minors was almost twice less.

The ratio of the convicted and those who are under investigation is different in different countries: in Poland those under ODA make 30% of the total, in Russia — about 50%, in Estonia — 60%. The data on those under ODA is unreliable in Uzbekistan, Belarus and Turkmenistan.

The data presented enable us to evaluate the situation in Ukraine compared with those in the countries with similar social, economic and political conditions.

(In preparing the quoted materials we used the data obtained by ‘Donetsk Memorial’ and Penal Reform International, the Great Britain)

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