Putin makes public officers combat teenage banditry

Putin makes public officers combat teenage banditry

A new Russian government working party will be established in mid-February by order of Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

Its main objective will be to elaborate a roadmap for eliminating teenage banditry in the country and protect youth from being influenced by the criminal culture. Moreover, the party members will also be responsible for helping former prisoners with their rehabilitation programs.

The President gave the Cabinet of Ministers such an order in view of teenage gangs sprouting up in many Russian regions once more and crime rate going up across the country. Teenage gangs manage to not only bully their classmates but spread terror among city and town districts as well.

Teenage banditry became a serious issue for the Transbaikal Region last year, according to Mikhail Fedotov, the Head of the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation. 'Adult' gangs from the Urkagan Prisoners’ Community established their teenage 'units' there. In schools and orphanages, teenagers communicate the way 'adult' criminals do: they have members responsible for gathering money for the common fund from their peers; start fights; punish 'offenders.' Teenage gangs even went as far as to attack police stations to liberate arrested gang members.

Konstantin Dolinin, the Head of the Roditelskoe Sobranie Non-Profit Partnership and a former Children's Rights Commissioner for the City of Ulyanovsk Governor, addressed Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Head of the MIA of the Russian Federation, in 2016. He asked him to put things in the Region in order and protect Ulyanovsk residents from underage criminals. Teenage gangs sell drugs and beat local residents – their peers as well as adults and children, according to Mr Dolinin.

Moscow has its issues with teenage crimes, too, according to police. While the number of crimes committed by minors went down compared to analogous periods of 2015 and 2016, the number of grave ones actually went up.

The main reason for increased teenage crime rates is the dire social and economic situation in Russian regions, according to specialists. Moreover, big number of troubled families in the Russian society and lack organized leisure time opportunities for teenagers also contribute to the issue. Children fall under criminal influence as a result.

The President ordered the Cabinet to create a special working party to resolve the issue. The following people are expected to be in the party: representatives of the MIA, Investigative Committee, Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office, and Presidential Council for Human Rights of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Putin set the following goal for them: "the Russian government should create an inter-agency working party for prevention of criminalization of minors. Representatives of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights of the Russian Federation should be in such a party."

The Ministry of Justice has already elaborated a bill for liberalization of punishment for children and teenagers who broke the law. A Mediation Service is expected to be established; it will attempt to reconcile criminals with their victims. Authority figures think such an approach will help in "not increasing the number of prisoners" and addressing the root of the problem.

This approach was called 'remedial justice.' Its main goal is to minimize consequences of crimes committed by minors. It is worth mentioning that the approach provides for work with both offenders and their victims.

"A remedial approach provides for separation of offenders and their offences and is needed for not allowing for a change in social status of offenders ('pigeonholing')," specialists say about their idea.

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