NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan moved from 83rd to 95th place in the International Criminal Policy Research (ICPR) World Prison Population ranking, according to a March 14 statement by the country’s General Prosecutor’s Office press service.
Kazakhstan’s prison population was 36,360 in 2016, 35,805 in 2017 and 30,798 in 2018.
The change followed the government’s efforts to humanise criminal punishment. Within the initiative, eight modernised criminal proceedings laws were adopted from 2016-2018. The scope of using imprisonment alternatives was expanded, a less punitive approach was accepted and early release possibilities were expanded. At the same time, liability for torture, organised crime, extremism, terrorism and infringing on the sexual integrity of minors has been toughened. The principle of inevitability of punishment in respect to those who repeatedly committed intentional property crimes has also been strengthened.
The reduction in prison population numbers did not lead to an increase in crime rates, noted the statement. Conversely, crime rates have dropped eight percent in 2018, compared to 2017 (292,000 in 2018 from 316,000 in 2017), with grave and particularly grave offences dropping 19 percent (21,000 in 2018 from 26,000 in 2017), reported Zakon.kz.
Crime rates have dropped for theft (7 percent – from 193,154 in 2017 to 180,175 in 2018), robbery (15 percent – from 9,469 in 2017 to 8,091 in 2018), murder (14.5 percent – from 942 in 2017 to 823 in 2018) and other (9.7 percent – from 110,115 in 2017 to 100,419 in 2018). At the same time, intentional serious bodily injury infliction crimes increased 6.7 percent (from 2,050 in 2017 to 2,198 in 2018).
The ICPR research results show Kazakhstan has a smaller prison population than countries such as Australia, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Singapore and Slovakia, according to the statement.