Russia's Federal Penal Service said that the country's inmates would soon be contributing to public works including the construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge to Crimea and a cleanup operation in the Sochi region, the Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday.
Oleg Korshunov, the deputy head of the service, told Kommersant that the initiative followed the creation of the Federal Penal Service's Trade House, which aims to increase the prison system's revenues.
The Federal Penal Service said that only non-recidivist convicts who are normally allowed to leave their prisons on special conditions will be considered for the program. Korshunov said that Russian authorities had already requested that 200 prisoners take part in a cleanup operation in the Sochi region, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in February.
A working Russian prisoner makes on average 196 rubles ($5.60) a day, Korshunov said. Some prisoners employed in labor-intensive jobs at sawmills or in metallurgy can make as much as 20,000 to 25,000 rubles ($570 to $720) a month, he added.
A total of 252,000 of the country's 550,000 inmates at federal penitentiaries are eligible to work. About 110,000 prisoners already work within the federal prison system.