The correctional facility has received a 57m-ruble ($1.8m) grant for the construction of the new dining facility.
BLAGOVESHCHENSK. October 4. VOSTOK-MEDIA – A high security correctional facility in Srednebely, a village in Amur Region, has opened its doors to the relatives and friends of prisoners providing them an opportunity to see what it is like to be within prison walls and be an inmate.
In 1988, the Srednebely correctional facility was the first in Amur Region to hold Open Doors day. Since then, relatives of model prisoners are being invited to take tours around the facility. Typically, visitors are shown the way the inmates live, where they sleep and what they eat.
The local bakery is the pride of the correctional facility. It employs scores of inmates and makes nearly 1,000 loaves a day.
“[The prison bread] is better than what people on the outside usually eat,” says the inmate Sergei Petrov. “My mother has visited me recently and brought over a loaf. The bread here tastes better!”
The bakery is scheduled for relocation as the construction of a new dining facility for 250 persons is almost completed, except that the building needs some finishing work and hooking up to power grid and water supply. The dining facility is expected to open in November.
“Seven 250-liter pots have been already brought to the facility,” said Oleg Marchenko, who oversees the dining hall construction. “That means soup can be cooked for the whole facility at a time.”
The correctional facility has received a 57m-ruble ($1,868,300) grant for the construction of the new dining facility. In addition, the construction of new housing units for 250 inmates is well underway at the facility, the second story being almost completed.
“Here you can see boilers and cooking appliances, where one can warm up meals; here you can see refrigerators to store meat products in,” says the deputy warden Sergei Kartavtsev, as he presents the housing units under construction. “Dining room, recreational area furnished with upholstered furniture and containing a TV, service area. It’s more like a dormitory than a prison.”
After the prison tour, the visitors appear to be less anxious about their convicted relatives.
“The facility has a pretty good computer room. In fact, it’s even better than most of the local schools have,” says Igor Chirkov, a relative of an inmate. “And what’s most important is that the facility offers opportunities for secondary and higher education.”
This year marked the first graduation of inmate students taking courses in Amur State University. One of the four students received Diploma with Merits. Some continue their education after they are released. The only thing that Srednebely facility needs now is some extra rooms in the visiting area. Currently, there are only six rooms but the facility needs twice as much. As things stand now, inmates have to wait for quite a while on a waiting list to meet with their near and dear ones.