The inmates of the detention centres and the penal colonies will be able to get the medical aid outside the penitentiaries. The appropriate provision is envisaged in the rules for giving the medical aid to the prisoners, the text of which was posted on the website of the Russian government on Thursday. According to the experts, this initiative can save 4,000 lives on average every year.
In the last few years several high-profile death cases of people were reported in Russian prisons and penal colonies over the failure to give the medical aid or the inferior medical aid. The most notorious death case occurred in 2009 at the Moscow detention centre Matrosskaya Tishina, where lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died.
According to the document, the aid to the prisoners and arrested people should be given at any medical institutions, if a penitentiary of the Federal Penitentiary Service did not have a proper doctor, the equipment or conditions, the Novye Izvestia daily reported. Meanwhile, ordinary doctors of the penitentiary bear responsibility for the ambulance call, but the penitentiary does not have these doctors, the prison authorities are responsible for this. If an ordinary doctor acknowledged that a patient can be convoyed, he will be transferred to another penitentiary, which have the medical specialists and equipment he needs.
“The document contains nothing particularly new,” the newspaper quoted head of the Moscow public supervisory committee Valery Borshchev as saying. He noted that the prison doctors can call the public doctors now, ten hospitals admit and cure the prisoners in Moscow. “The problem is that this is not the doctors who decide, whether to call the ambulance or not. While the prison medical system is subordinate to the Federal Penitentiary System, the death cases of Magnitsky and Vera Trifonova (the prisoners died in the detention centre over the failure to provide the medical aid) may recur,” the human rights activist said with major concerns.
The penal colonies and the prisons will conclude contracts with concrete clinics, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. “But the most important thing is that in case of the slightest suspicions it is recommended to call the ambulance to the prisoner immediately,” chairman of the committee for the protection of human rights of the Moscow Public Committee Anton Tsvetkov said. “One physician is usually on duty in the nighttime at the detention centre, where 1,500 people are being kept in custody. The ambulance doctors can save the life of tens of prisoners, if they arrive with the intensive therapy equipment. Now the intradepartmental instruction is in effect that the medics should be examined at a checkpoint in the penitentiary for two-three minutes. So, there is almost no difference between the ambulance call to the home and in the detention centre. In general, we call for public doctors to cure the prisoners,” he said.