November 12, 2010

Russian Prison Wants Tanning Beds For Prisoners

Russia's notorious Butyrka prison said on Tuesday that it will soon install sunbeds to improve the health of its inmates.

The 19th-century Butyrka prison in central Moscow has held a slew of historical figures in its barriers, including persecuted Soviet-era writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Isaak Babel and Adolf Hitler's nephew Heinrich.

"We are developing additional medical services and even sunbeds will be put in place," Butyrka's head Sergei Telyatnikov told state-run radio station Vesti FM.

The state-run RIA news agency said the sunbeds will be installed by the end of the year.  Telyatnikov said they will be used for medical purposes.

The crowded, poorly managed prison was criticized in November 2009 after the death of jailed lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Lawyers for Magnitsky said he was kept in custody illegally and not given proper medical treatment in prison despite repeated requests.

The Federal Prison Service admitted to partly being responsible for Magnitsky's death.

The prison service said almost half of Russia's inmates are ill, many infected with HIV or tuberculosis.  It blamed outdated medical equipment for disease and health problems.

Telyatnikov said inmates will have access to ultrasound systems to "check up on their health," and could even have spa facilities like mud baths in the future.

Supporters of Magnitsky say Butyrka lacked ultrasound equipment he needed when he was there.

Telyatnikov said inmates will also be allowed the use of Skype to have contact with their relatives.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia