Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Marat Khusnullin said that construction sites in Russia can attract convicts on light economic articles. He said this on the air of the Russia 24 TV channel. Khusnullin expects convicts to be more willing to work on construction sites after amendments were made to allow them to receive parole, despite the transition to corrective labor.
“The prisoners didn’t really go to work there, because if they went to corrective labor, they didn’t have the opportunity to get parole. A legislative amendment has now been introduced to the Ministry of Justice on our initiative. Today, under the law, even if you're in correctional labor and acting normal, you can still be eligible for parole. I believe that this measure will lead to the fact that some of the prisoners on light economic articles could work at a construction site, ” said Marat Khusnullin (quoted by RIA Novosti).
Also, according to him, 20-50 thousand workers from North Korea can be attracted to construction sites in Russia. In August, Khusnullin stated that the productivity of workers from the DPRK was 2.5 times higher than that of Russian workers.
On August 17, Sergey Bystrov, Deputy Chairman of the Construction Entrepreneurship Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that more than 5,000 prisoners work at construction sites in Russia.
“This topic, this is the pilot project that we started two years ago with the Federal Penitentiary Service, it has gone, it works, it has the right to life. <...> 114 correctional centers were created, more than 5 thousand employees were involved, who are now working at many construction sites [in Russia],” Bystrov said.
At the end of May 2021, the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Alexander Kalashnikov, proposed replacing labor migrants with prisoners. He assured that "it will not be a Gulag", "but absolutely new, worthy conditions." Those serving sentences will work, live in dormitories or rent an apartment and receive a decent salary, he said. According to Kalashnikov, among the 482,000 people held in correctional institutions, about 188,000 can be engaged in forced labor.
At the end of April 2021, the head of the Department for the organization of the execution of sentences not related to the isolation of convicts from society, Elena Korobkova, expressed the opinion that the creation of jobs for convicts at the enterprises of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) will allow them to be released from places of deprivation of liberty ahead of time.
The Federal Penitentiary Service then expressed bewilderment at the comparison of the initiative to create jobs for a milder type of punishment for convicts with the BAMlag of the 1930s (a corrective labor camp that was part of the Gulag system of the NKVD).
The representative of the Federal Penitentiary Service noted that for convicts, transfer to forced labor is a social lift that allows them to adapt in society, get a job, and restore social and family ties.