President Viktor Yushchenko visited a prison for juvenile delinquents in Berezhany on Sunday and said there he was going to issue a decree to adapt Ukraine’s penitentiary system to European requirements and standards.

“The policy of state gulags must go into the past,” he said. “These people demand worthy and humane treatment and they should not develop hatred towards those behind the fence.”

Yushchenkosaid prison inmates in Ukraine lived in bad conditions, had poor nutrition and rarely had access to education and healthcare. He reprimanded the government for regarding prison factories and workshops as a “pragmatic economy.” He said the task of such institutions was not to make profits but to ensure that its inmates cancontinue their education and develop professional skills, according to president's press office.

The president, however, said there had been some improvements in the system, especially in the area of education. Fewer inmates have tuberculosis, he added.


He then inspected the prison and spoke to its inmates. “On behalf of the state, I will spare no effort to humanize your status every year. We must undo the Soviet penitentiary system as soon as possible,” he said, calling on the teens to never lose hope and return to social life as worthy citizens.

Yushchenko also met with the heads of the country’s prisons to speak about how to reform the penitentiary system.


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