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Penitentiary system of Ukraine in 2004

Aleksandr Bukalov, «The Donetsk Memorial»

According to the data of the State department of penitentiaries of Ukraine, the number of people retained in the establishments of the criminal-executive system of Ukraine has decreased, during the past year, for 3212 persons (1.7%), and on 1 January 2005 this number was 188465 persons. The dynamics of change of the number of incarcerated for the last seven years is adduced in the Table.

Total number of the incarcerated


206 191


218 083


222 254


192 293


197 641


191 677


188 465

The universal index of the number of incarcerated for 100 thousand of population is 398 in Ukraine. For comparison: in Russia this index is about 600, in the USA – more than 700, and in the countries of the Western Europe – only 80-120.

On 1 January 2005 149697 persons (here and in what follows the data for 1 January 2004 are given in parentheses – 150934) were held in penitentiaries, 38768 (40743) stayed in investigatory isolation wards. The number of women held in custody has also decreased during the year, both incarcerated – 9265 (9917), and staying in investigatory isolation wards – to 2659 (2729). The quantity of the condemned minors has increased – 3225 persons (2403). At that their number in investigatory wards has not essentially changed– now 1992 minors are staying there (1968 a year before).

The number of the condemned to life imprisonment has increased almost for 200: from 891 to 1099, and the number of women among them has increased from 10 to 11.

The quantity of the AIDS-infected convicts in colonies has noticeably increased -- 3568 (1917) among them 89 are ill with the AIDS. The number of the consumptive patients in penitentiaries establishments has also become greater – 10198 persons (9080).

During the past year 59755 (61260) condemned got to the colonies for service of sentence. 73634 persons were taken to investigatory isolation wards. At the same time 51510 (58983) persons were released from penitentiaries in 2004, among them 27832 (30323) were granted on parole. In 2003 5032 were released on amnesty, in 2004 the amnesty was planned, but did not take place.

The situation with holding in custody arouses great anxiety. It was told more than once about the excessiveness of application of this measure in Ukraine. The number of persons released from investigatory wards expressively proves that. In the past year 14186 persons were released from investigatory wards – 19.3% of the total number of persons taken to the investigatory wards during the year. Among them:

-  on the basis of application by courts of punishment not connected with deprivation of liberty – 8392 persons (8405);

-  because of the end of the term of punishment – 3604 (4038);

-  in connection with changing of preliminary measure – 2103 (2686);

-  among them on bail – 78;

-  because of cessation by courts of the cases and on the basis of non-guilty verdicts – 46 persons (77).

It is obvious that the expediency of holding in investigatory wards of the majority of convicts (more than 14000) is doubtful – nobody of them was condemned to a serious punishment. The responsibility for this situation lays, first of all, on the judges, who sanction holding in custody.

On 1 February 2005 registers of the Criminal-executive inspection contained the files of 183729 persons. At that 1103 persons served their punishment in the form of public works.

The number of the incarcerated, who died during their stay in the establishments of the criminal-executive system has not changed much – 808 persons (824), among them 44 (41) committed suicide.

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