Justice Minister announces new prison conscription standards, allowing for drafting of up to 20,000 convicts

Justice Minister Denys Malyuska
Justice Minister Denys Malyuska

Newly implemented conscription reform will allow the Ukrainian government to draft ten to twenty thousand currently serving convicts, or those with criminal records, to the military, Justice Minister Denys Malyuska said in an interview with the BBC, published on May 10.

Only military medical commissions can determine the suitability of prisoners to join the army, he clarified.

“The question lies in approaches," he explained, regarding the number of eligible convicts and felons.

"I say the numbers are absolutely not calculated, because depending on each scenario, the number will be different."

He also commented on the discussions regarding the mobilization of those convicted of murder. People sentenced to life imprisonment can serve, he thinks, since most of such citizens committed crimes at the age of 18-19, when "the brain is not yet formed and the psyche is not stable."

However, he does not believe that the same should be extended to those who committed repeated offenses, or those who are psychologically unstable.

Parallels can be observed with Russia recruiting convicts as well, but Ukraine uses a different approach, Malyuska said, elaborating that Ukraine does not press-gangs prisoners into service, unlike Russia, and conducts a "risk assessment for each subject."

Prisoner conscription in Ukraine

Read also: Replacing prison terms with mobilization for white-collar criminals – expert interview

On May 8, he Ukrainian parliament passed bill No. 11079−1, allowing certain categories of prisoners to be conscripted into the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They can do so only after a court decision, or voluntarily. Those convicted of grievous cases of premeditated murder, rape, sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this policy.

This means that former government officials convicted of corruption would not be able to serve in the Armed Forces.

In addition, prisoners who could potentially be conscripted should have no more than three years left on their sentences.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine