Russia to release scores of inmates

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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.

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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.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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