war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Preparation of the new Penal-Executive Code is the matter of national importance

Vasiliy Trubnikov, a National Juridical Academy named after Yaroslav Mudryi, Kharkiv
In November 1998 the international seminar ‘Prison reform in post-totalitarian countries’ was held in Donetsk. Ukrainian participants of this seminar discussed the new Penal-Executive Code. Below we shall render opposite opinions of two specialists on the goals of incarceration.
We live in interesting time. We have a unique opportunity to participate in creating a new Penal-Executive Code, which we can make humane and responding to all demands of the corresponding world standards. Some time ago the Cabinet of Ministers ruled to create a group of theoreticians and practicians to create the above-mentioned code. I was included into this group, but nobody proposed me to do anything. I and my colleagues learned about the creation of the new draft from mass media. The draft has been prepared by the proper department under strict secrecy. I think that such procedure is wrong: creating the draft is a a deed of national importance, and everyone who could make any contribution to the draft must be attracted.

The department of criminology of our academy could be able to prepare such a draft. We can do it because we have a sizeable scientific potential.

We must not repeat the mistake committed in Russia. At the scientific-practical conference held in Moscow the new Penal-Executive Code was discussed, and many speakers listed many mistakes and drawbacks of the new code.

I think that many problems of the new code must be discussed by public. The main questions to be discussed are the concept of the new code, the problems of correcting the incarcerated, the limits of admissible restrictions of rights of the incarcerated and other strategic and tactical directions. In the drafts of the new Penal-Executive Code and Penal Code the most basic questions must be discussed. First of all, they concern the goals of penitentiary establishments. In the existing drafts the goals of the punishment are described in very fuzzy terms and are very irrealistic. Usually the goal of the incarceration is considered to be reforming of the criminal. Hence, the main criterion of efficiency of penitentiary establishments is the measure of decreasing recidivist crime. Such an approach is an irrealistic exaggeration of possibilities of incarceration.

In my opinion, colonies and prisons must reduce crime only in the sense that they isolate criminals from the society, and nothing more. Such an approach redeem us from various fantasies on the topic of rebreeding, reforming, correcting a person. Penitentiary establishments are intended to stop the criminal activity. Hence, the main criterion of the efficiency of penitentiary establishments must be not decreasing recidivist crime but a good organization of isolation of the incarcerated, maintaining order, creating conditions for dragging the incarcerated into the system of social relations and the development of responsibility for their behavior. As to reforming and correcting, it must be the duty of hand-picked pedagogues and psychologists, who can and wish to work with the incarcerated. In many countries there exists the institute of social workers, who represent, so to say, a bridge between prison and society.

Unfortunately, these simple and realistic ideas are not embodied in the drafts either of the Penal or the Penal-Executive Codes of Ukraine.

In my opinion the penal-executive policy of Ukraine at present must be developed in two main directions:

improvement of the order and conditions in the penitentiary establishments;

organization of an efficient system of social adaptation of the incarcerated.

Fantastic demands that the penitentiary system must correct hardened criminals brake the achievement of realistic goals.
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