Prisons and detentions facilities in Turkmenistan virtually exist on the supplies provided by the inmates' families and relatives.
Clothes, footwear, bedding, food products, cigarettes and sanitary items flow to prisons in big quantities.
To prove this, it is not necessary to attend the penitentiary institutions. One can just visit the post offices in the Turkmen towns and villages. Most parcels shipped via post offices bear the addresses and contact details of prisons, colonies and detention facilities.
In passenger trains people also pay attention to the passengers carrying bed linen as well as other items for family members who are kept in custody.
"Not only I have to deliver all the necessities to my husband who is kept in the colony in the Mary velayat, but I need to pay a bribe of 100-200 thousand manats to the prison governor or his deputy in order to hand the packages over to him. Only in this case I will be allowed to visit my husband on a monthly basis and ship the parcels. I bring a lot of food products? grains, pasta, vegetables, oil, men's clothes and linen. In other words, these are the things that should be provided to the inmates by the government, namely by the managers of prisons and colonies. Needless to say that I also bring home-cooked food", - says an Ashgabat resident.
In the letters or notes which are sent from the detention facilities the inmates make the lists of things which need to be forwarded or brought to them. The list of things needed to ensure the basic living conditions is sometimes composed of a page and a half or two pages.
"I have received the list of things and food products from my grandson who is serving the sentence in the colony. I was astonished by the amounts of goods: a sack of biscuits, 20 litres of vegetable oil, 100 packs of cigarettes or tobacco, 15 kilos of various grains and pasta. The list also included pillow cases, bed sheets, blanket covers (only in white), and blankets. Those are just the monthly supplies! The quantities are much bigger than he needs. Obviously, the prison management collects a lion's share for their personal needs", – a retiree from Dashoguz complains.
Apart from clothes, footwear, groceries, the relatives do not forget to put writing paper, envelopes, pens and pencils in the parcel packages, which are also in demand in the detention cells.
The state budget is supposed to allocate money to fund the prisoners. However, how are these funds spent? Why are the relatives of the inmates required to support their family members who are serving the prison sentences and furthermore, to pay the managers of the penitentiary institutions?
The current practice is another example which demonstrates that the government does not only punish the person who committed an offence but their family members who did not break the law.