Moscow prison services: VIP-cells for 1 million rubles, mobile phones and drugs for 60 thousand
Members of the Public Monitoring Commission reported on the cost of preferential treatments in Moscow’s detention centers.
The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) reported the results of the fight against corruption among prison staff. In 2016, FSIN security department was able to identify 352 crimes against 211 last year.
The most common crimes among FSIN employees are illegal release on parole and unjustified transfer of convicts to other correctional facilities. According to Novaya Gazeta, Moscow convicts engaged in general labor activities in jail after the verdict had been passed are then released on parole. By the way, this line of work is considered elite with plenty of inmates yearning to join its ranks. However, it is almost impossible to do so without giving a bribe to a FSIN official.
In addition, almost all Moscow prisons have VIP cells, though the prices vary significantly. For instance, the most expensive cells are in Butyrka, they may cost up to 1 million rubles. Such suites have a shower, Internet, mobile phone, walls without mold, and decent neighbors as a bonus. However, even if the VIP treatment has been paid for, one cannot be sure he will stay there until the end of his prison term. Despite all agreement, the staff can transfer an inmate to a cold and damp cell at their own volition.
In Moscow pre-trial detention center No. 5, the cost is mere 35 thousand per month. The cell is designed for fourteen people and is generously equipped: a plasma TV, a large fridge, a cooker, electric kettles, a few fans, and a mobile connection with Internet. As the journalist and a member of the Public Monitoring Commission, Elena Masyuk noted, a poor prisoner can never be transferred to an elite cell, even when ordinary ones are overcrowded.
In addition to the price list on the VIP cells, the wardens have set prices for cell phones and SIM cards. This yields profit to a much greater number of prison workers. Prices for the ability to communicate with the outside world vary from 32 to 60 thousand rubles on average. However, here a prisoner can never be sure he will not be deceived. For example, a prisoner named Vasily told the commission members about a popular fraud scheme. FSIN staff offered the man the right to use a mobile phone with Internet access. The service itself cost 32 thousand rubles, in addition, relatives or friends had to buy a cell phone and transfer it to FSIN employees. However, in the end Vasily was ripped off — he never saw either a phone, or the money. When he met one of the extortionists, he asked to return the money or the phone, but the staff member instead threatened him with "physical elimination."
Another source of enrichment for the FSIN employees in Moscow is drug trafficking. Sometimes it is done by lawyers or relatives of a prisoner, but the major drug carriers are still prison workers. Novaya Gazeta pointed out that an employee of the Butyrka prison Teymur Gadzhiev tried to smuggle 94 grams of marijuana and 12 grams of methadone at the request of a convict, but was caught at the checkpoint. Now, Gadzhiev himself is a convict under part 4 of Art. 228.1 (Sale of Drugs on a Large Scale Using Official Position). The former FSIN employee was placed in the pre-trial detention center No.4. He complains that he had to seek additional earnings because of the low salaries.
"I have worked in Butyrka for six years. If we had been paid good money, we would not have engaged in such things. Our salary was reduced. In 2015 I received 46 thousand rubles, while in 2016 — 36 thousand. Previously, I held two positions — chief of the corps division and sub-inspector of the first category. And then the position of the chief of the corps division was abolished, and I remained a junior inspector. How am I supposed to live on that monet? Gadzhiev sounds perplexed. The commission members note that the prisoner shows no signs of remorse, only regret that he was caught red-handed.
By the way, defenders often see prisoners in a state of narcotic intoxication.
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