Five-star prison for elite criminals

A prison governor in the Volgograd region has been fired for providing crime-lord inmates with luxury prison cells.

The influential convicts, it turned out, had been granted various perks in exchange for money. These included soft furnishings, selections of imported spirits, plasma TVs and an aquarium.

The rooms were decorated with images of famous crime-lords and big Orthodox icons. Mobile phones and internet were available, as well as a big collection of clothes and perfumes.

The “elite” prisoners even dined in a separate canteen with a special VIP menu.

The “hotel” was uncovered during a random inspection by state authorities. Apart from the elite housing, the police discovered a stash of homemade knives and confiscated mobile phones.

“The prison’s employees at first refused to open the ‘secret’ rooms, saying there is no key or that they are not allowed to show the premises,” said an official representative of the Volgograd prosecutor, Oksana Cheredinina.

A similar scandal was discovered at another Russian prison earlier this year. Its inmates were given laptops and mobile phones so they could browse social networks and chat with their friends or post pictures. In other cases, inmates bribed prison employees to be relocated to more comfortable cells, ordered new wallpaper and tiles to redecorate their rooms, and even took vacations abroad.

Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov even offered to legalize “elite” cells for those inmates who have the money.

“The purpose of a prison sentence is to isolate the criminals, not to make them live in bad conditions,” Gudkov said.

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