Community Service: Points of View from Society, Business, and Government
A network of correctional centres will provide social adaptation of inmates, motivation to comply with the law, as well as economic benefits for the state
“Today we talk about the fact that community service and creating a network of correctional centers is not only a question of humanization. They aim at the re-socialization of the citizen. It is very important for a citizen to obtain a profession. <...> Today we have 20,000 openings in correctional centres, and we plan to increase this number to 80,000 or so,” Vsevolod Vukolov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.
“This type of punishment has two main points. The first is work, getting used to work. Work always distracts people from any bad thoughts they may have, gives them the opportunity to earn money, support their family and themselves, and adapt to life in society. The second one is important in the sense that people are not abandoned. They are under supervision, under control. They have to stay in the correctional centre in the dormitory during their free time, but with the permission of the administration they have a chance to leave for various reasons: for domestic, for social reasons. <...> The law stipulates that 5% to 20% of the wages of convicts sentenced to community service shall be withheld to the federal budget,” Aleksander Matveenko, Acting Deputy Director, The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN).
“It is a very good motivation for people: to gradually return to society,” Alexander Kholodov, Deputy Chairman, Commission on Watch Groups Communication.
Some citizens fail to understand that correctional centres only house those willing to do well
“When a correctional centre is put in place, citizens think of it as a custodial contingent. Our job is to explain that these people are disciplined, but at the slightest infraction they can be returned to the penitentiary. So, these people work in an ordinary enterprise, they wear civilian clothes, they earn money <...> and practically lead an ordinary life,” Vsevolod Vukolov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.
“To those people who are worried that there is danger in having a correctional centre near them, my answer is this: it is dangerous not to build a correctional centre now. Because if we do not build them, we are releasing people into nowhere, and those people are being left alone. Now the world is changing so rapidly that a person [after serving a large sentence – Ed.] feels like they are going back to another planet. They do not know how to use anything: public services, bank cards. <...> The correctional centre is a steppingstone that would allow us to observe them, to see how they cope, to monitor and help,” Eva Merkacheva, Member, Moscow Public Monitoring Commission.
Public control should be emphasized
“Public control. We left the jurisdiction of the European Committee Against Torture. <...> every year it became politicized, we saw it only cared about certain categories of people. Nevertheless, it was <...> useful. Today, watch groups should be allowed into detention vehicles, courtrooms, the places where people are held for involuntary treatment. We need to strengthen public control,” Tatiana Moskalkova, High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation.
Motivating businesses to employ comminute service participants
“The first centre was created in the Novgorod region, we hosted the pilot project. <...> The regions have a lot of problems with the workforce for the enterprises. It is a great opportunity to resolve this problem: not by attracting migrants from other countries, but by giving the opportunity to our fellow citizens who want to work. One of the enterprises organized such a centre, now there are already three of them, a few more are being built, prepared, repaired. <...> These are food processing enterprises, these are agricultural enterprises, these are manufacturing enterprises,” Andrey Nikitin Governor of Novgorod Region
“The main thing is that there is an initiative, <...> about 250 companies around the country also assume that they need this kind of workforce,” Vsevolod Vukolov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.
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