Medvedev Urges Better Penal System

President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that while the prison population has fallen to about 890,000 from more than 1 million a decade ago, steps must be taken to reduce the number of inmates even further.

"This is still a very, very large number," Medvedev said during a government meeting in the city of Vologda, about 500 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

The number of felony convictions has doubled in recent years, he said.

Medvedev proposed the broader use of house arrest and bail, which could help to reduce the number of people in detention awaiting trial.

Medvedev visited a juvenile penal colony in Vologda, home to 134 inmates, most of whom are aged 16 and 17. He visited the canteen, a computer class and workshops, where inmates earn 100 rubles a day, the Kremlin press service said.