Russia to release scores of inmates

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Massive changes in Russian criminal policy will soon transfer about 350,000 convicts from jail to the streets, the largest exodus of prisoners since the Gulag camps were emptied post-Stalin in the 1950s, according to IN THESE TIMES.

Recent Must Reads

1/31 – Genes aren’t colorblind

1/30 – Gay TV shoved back in closet

1/27 – Feds massively overstate anti-drug spending

1/26 – On environment, AAA gets an F

The new law, slated to be launched in coming months, will effect one-third of Russia’s million-plus inmates by changing limits on pretrial detention, reducing sentences for petty crime, and expanding the probation system. It represents the first serious attempt to address the brutality and poor conditions of their prison system, which are symptoms of overcrowding.

But one-tenth of Russia’s inmates have tuberculosis, and AIDS is spreading rapidly due to increased heroin addiction among prisoners, so human rights groups are skeptical that a large amnesty will do more than alleviate the population problem, pointing to the high potential for homelessness on the streets and continued inmate abuse behind bars.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend