On November 29 the official opening ceremony of the first building of “Armavir” penitentiary institution was held. Serj Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, was present at the opening.
The first building to be exploited hosts 400 convicts. The second and third buildings which will host 800 convicts are to be put into operation by the end of 2015.
“Armavir” penitentiary institution is the biggest in Armenia. According to the people responsible in this sphere, it meets the international standards.
The building which is put into operation is divided into two wings and has overall 96 cells each of which is intended to host four inmates. Every cell has a bathroom. The space is 16-17 sq m (without the bathroom).
The institution has long-visit rooms and a two-surgery in-treatment hospital has been built for 120 convicts. Hovhannes Manukyan, the Minister of Justice, mentioned that the use of the institution will improve the everyday conditions of the inmates and the problems of other overloaded penitentiary institutions will be somewhat unburdened and solved. According to the Minister, 400 convicts from other penitentiary institutions will be moved to “Armavir” soon. When the question concerning the criteria of choosing the inmates to be moved was asked, the Minister answered that the decision would be made by the heads of the penitentiary institutions based on the level of overcrowding.
The guests and journalists present at the event were taken for a tour round the penitentiary institution.
It is to be recalled that the building activity of “Armavir” penitentiary institution was launched in 2007. The aim of the new building was to unburden other overcrowded penitentiary institutions. The construction works were suspended in 2009-2010 because of financial problems. However, the building process was relaunched in 2011. The institution is intended for approximately 1200 convicts. 1152 inmates are expected to live in the cells, while the other 48 will be placed in special rooms for convicts located in the dormitory section of the service department.
The space of the penitentiary institution will be provided with security and fire-alarm systems, around 150 pieces of mobile and immobile observation equipment and 4 watchtowers. Electroconvulsive security system is installed along the perimeter. The barbwire fences are approximately 6 meters high.
Photos by Hra.am