At PRI’s Executive Board meeting on 25 January 2018, the future of the Moscow office was reviewed. Following this, the Executive Board reluctantly took the view that in the current financial climate, the organisation cannot continue its financial support for the Moscow office.
This decision was not made lightly. The Moscow office, one of the first PRI regional offices to be established, has worked since the early 1990s with government and non-governmental partners on a number of programmes in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In particular, its work in Russia has helped reduce the prison population, provided technical assistance to the prison administration and prison staff, and improved conditions for people in detention. Examples of past work in Russia include improving the health and reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS inside prisons, thus benefitting the health of prisoners, prison staff and their families. Alternatives to detention were promoted and developed and support provided to the probation service. Rights of vulnerable groups of offenders have been protected. Support and training for the Public Oversight Commissions has led to more effective monitoring of places of detention. Prison staff have benefitted from capacity building activities and training to assist them in implementing international standards and good practice in prison management. In Ukraine and Belarus our office has also worked with local partners to improve the criminal justice and penitentiary systems.
We would like to thank all our PRI staff who have worked over many years to promote and implement international standards and good practice in the region.
PRI as an organisation remains committed to promoting fair and effective justice systems where offenders are held to account, sentences are proportionate, and the primary purpose of imprisonment is rehabilitation, rather than retribution. We will continue to seek to play a role in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus by working in partnership with government and non-governmental agencies.