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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

140,000 Prisoners Freed by Amnesty

Authorities have freed about 140,000 prisoners or dismissed their cases under an amnesty begun last spring, reducing crowding in the disease-ridden prison system, a top judicial official said Tuesday.

The amnesty covered prisoners who were infected with tuberculosis or convicted of minor crimes and people who had won state or military awards. The parliament passed the amnesty in May. It is scheduled to expire Oct. 27.

Pretrial detention centers managed to reduce their prisoner load by about 56,000 people, said Vladimir Kolesnikov, an adviser to the prosecutor general.

However, about 226,000 suspects are still held in the centers, which were never intended to hold more than 185,000 people, he said.

The amnesties have reduced the total inmate population to about 950,000 in 987 facilities, Deputy Justice Minister Yury Kalinin was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Kalinin said the ministry favored passage by parliament of further measures to reduce the number of inmates, including limits on pre-trial detention.

Russia has the highest per capita prison population in the world.