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Laughter Is The Best Medicine For Gulag Blues, Russia Tells Guards

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Conditions in Russian prisons are certainly no joke, but Russia's Justice Ministry suggests a little humor could help improve prisoner morale. The newspaper Izvestia reports that the ministry wants prison guards to, quote, "use jokes and irony when they interact with prisoners." One concerned prison official asked, what is there to joke about with murderers and terrorists? Another official said, only people who know absolutely nothing about prisons would suggest such a thing. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.