Art Performances are Deemed Important for Working Inmates


The following is an interview with Kh.Bayasgalan, the press and media representative of the General Execution Office of the Court Decision of Mongolia. The article is translated from the Zuunii Medee Newspaper.

-There have been rumors about that the authorities of the General Execution Office of the Court Decision (GEOCD) have been involved in fraud cases. What could you tell us about this?
-A Working Group has been established by a resolution from the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs of Parliament and this group is currently conduction inspections on the operations of affiliated agencies of the Ministry of Justice of Mongolia. This inspection is being made on the operations of General Police Department and City Police Department. The inspection commission hasn’t come to our organization yet. False news—which stated the authorities of the GEOCD misappropriated 49 million MNT—has been spread amongst people. The GEOCD has been under an audit inspection at the present time and the inspection is in the stage of completion. No misappropriation of the 49 million MNT was detected during this inspection; not even of 400 thousand MNT. There are no grounds to this report and no one has been found guilty on the decision of the court. This news should have freely reported the name and position of the person who they are accusing and what exactly it was that he or she did wrong. No worker of the GEOCD has recently been implicated in a criminal case or is under investigation from the prosecution organizations or the Independent Authority Against Corruption.
-Four prisoners escaped from a hard labor prison camp. It has been reported that the GEOCD concealed this information. Could you clarify this?
-If we had concealed this, the whole country wouldn’t have known about it. We informed the press and media about it at the time. The four escaped prisoners were arrested within 24 hours. The defendants who escaped from prison are serving extended sentences under the law and the detention officials who were responsible for this received disciplinary punishment or were fired from their job.
-It is said that the four prisoners escaped while they were doing construction work. Some people think that it isn’t necessary to make inmates do labor. What is the consequence of inmate labor?
-It is the GEOCD policy to provide work places to inmates, to pay inmates wages, to develop the interest among them to work, to initiate the inmate into labor programs. Some mistakes had occurred. The issue to socialize inmates and make them do labor is also a policy from the Innovation Government. It is possible to imprison the inmates in their cells without making them do anything. But labor is also one way of socializing them. On the other hand, the inmates can compensate in the form of restitution for the damage which they have caused with their wages, and if they have covered all the damages, they can open an account and save it and access it after they are released. There are some inmates who support their family with the wages they earn by working. The issue of establishing vocational training centers in prisons was debated and approved by the government resolution No 159 of May 9, 2012. As part of the implementation of the resolution, the government order to establish a vocational training center was made. The Amgalan Vocational Training Center is now operating at prison camp No 449. From 2009 to 2011, 600 inmates were trained at this center in 12 different professions, and 487 inmates of the prison camps of the GEOCD under took special trainings under the same 12 professions and obtained ‘Skills Certificates.’ This will be a big assist in earning a living after the inmates are released back into society. As of 2011, there were only 360 inmates doing labor in prisons, but the number doubled to 750 in 2012. During the last three years, 2991 inmates were paid with 803.4 million MNT for their labor wages. Restitution damages costing 82.7 million MNT was covered by 1,256 inmates. It is improper to stop the labor programs of the inmates just because of several irresponsible people. The inmates must be conscious of this too. Our organization has conducted meetings, free discussions and training and listened to the inmates’ opinions on the labor in prisons. The employment rate of inmates has risen compared to the past. The number of the working inmates has increased and the escape rate decreased.
-Recently it has been reported that many athletes and singers are getting paid under the name of ‘Suld’ Sports Guild and from the GEOCD?
-The ‘Suld’ Sports Guild was established five years ago. Any organization has its own guild. The ‘Suld’ Sports Guild operates only just like any of them—the ‘Avragch’, ‘Khuch’ ‘Khilchin’ and so on. At present four officials are being paid from the state budget and the other athletes are paid by the organization. We also have a music squad. The music squad is necessary at ceremonies or special occasions. Before we had our own music group like this, we would invite musicians from other organizations. There are also four, five or more artists. They organize artistic performances for the inmates. There are over twenty prison camps, affiliates of the GEOCD, and more than 6000 inmates serve imprisonment there. Our artists hold performances in different locations. They have recently performed for the prison camps located in Huvsgul, Uvurkhangai, Avdarant, Kharkhorin, Khentii, Choir, and in Sukhbaatar. The art performances are deemed significant for people who are separated from the society, family and friends.

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