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About of Russian Penitentiary System


Penitentiary system of  the Russian Federation

Correctional Institutions(IU) for Sertenced Prisoners

Penitentiary system of the Russian Federation


Correctional Institutions(IU) for Sertenced Prisoners

IUs of various security levels differ according to detention conditions and restrictions.

Prisoners are sentenced to a correctional institution or transferred from one correctional institution to another by court order.

1. Educational Juvenile Colonies (VK)

Detailed information on educational juvenile colonies will be published in one of upcoming issues of the Newsletter.

2. Correctional Colonies (IK) for adult offenders

2.1. IK Settlements (IKS)

General Information

* open-prison institutions;

* no uniform;

* practically no quards;

* transfer always by court order;

* prisoners live in dormitories or (with the administration's permission) in rented apartments within the boundaries of the IKS;

* relatives may live with prisoners (with the administration's permission);

* men and wonen may be kept in the same IKS.

Two types ofIKS:

*for first-time offenders convicted of non premeditated crimes for up to 5 years (type I);

*for prisoners who have been transferred from minimum and medium to maximum security colonies by a court decision (type II);

The following groups of prisoners may not be transferred to a type II IKS:

* those sentenced tj death or life imprisonment whjse sentence was commuted due to pardoning;

* prisoners from a Special Regime IK;

* those who have not been through compulsory (by court order) treatment (for alcoholism, drug addiction, venereal diseases) and tuberculosis patients;

* those who have not given writter consent to transfer to a IKS.

Prisoners are FORBIDDEN to do the following without the administration's permission:

* leave the boundaries of the IKS;

* leave the dormitory between "lights out" and reveille;

* quit their job and transfer to another;

* acquire or keep certain items (alcohol, guns, knives, neans of personal transportation, photographic and copying equipment, etc.);

* keep their passport or other indetification documents (apart from the "Prisoner Card" issued by the administration).


* all types of punishment stipulated for IKs, including (ShIZO), apart from PKT and EPKT (see section 2.2);

* forbidden to leave the dormitory during free time (up to 30 days);

* cancellation of permission to live in a rented apartment.

Persistent offenders of the colony's internal regulations may be transferred from:

a type I IKS to a General Regime IK (minimum security)

a type II IKS to an IK as previously ordered by the court.

2.2. Correctional Colonies (IK)

An IK is an isolated institution enclosed by barbed wire, fenced with alarm systems, atc., and patrolled by armed guards and dogs. Besides the colony is divided by fences into several sections or zones: work zone, residential zone, punishment sections, hospital, scool, administrative buildings, etc. When leaving an IK, prisoners are usualy convoyed. Men and women are kept in separate IKs.


* live in closed or open dormitories (barracks) divided by fences into local zones, or areas the prisoners have the right to enter during the day (apart from prisoners under strict treatment);

* may only move around the local zones in formed lines and wearing uniforms (apart from women);

* do not have the right to keep money, their passport or other identification documents (apart from their prisoner card), or items and products on the banned list;

* may be searched at any time;

* shall have all letters, printed matter, packages and parcels censured or checked.

Three Types of IK:

* General regime (minimum security) for all groups of males, apart from those listed below, and women, apart from those sentenced to strict regime colonies (type I);

* Strict regime (medium to maximum security), for first-time offenders convicted of particularly grave crimes, repeat offenders, who have previously been sentenced to imprisonment, and females convicted of particularly grave

repeat crimes (type II);

* Special regime (maximum security), for males convicted of particularly dangerous repeat crimes, who have been sentenced to life imprisonment or death, but pardoned (type III).

Pregnant women and women with children under three years old shall serve their term in general regime colonies that have a children's home. Prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment shall serve their term in two separate special  regime colonies. There are also separate IKs for former low-enforcement and judicial afficers.

There are three units in each colony with different types of treatment:

general, for newcomers and prisoners transferred rfom strict and light treatment;

light, for prisoners who have not committed any disciplinary violations for a certain amount of time (from six months to one year);

strict, for persistent violators of the colony's internal regulations.

Internal regulations become harsher and fewer letters, packages, parcels, visits, and telephone calls are allowed as a colony moves from the minimum to maximum security type and as light treatment is changed to general and to strict treatment.

Prisoners are transferred from one treatment to another upon a decision by the institution's commission. This commission may include representatives from the local authorities.

Only prisoners under light treatment are subject to conditional or early release. The prison administration may allow prisoners under light treatment in type I IKs to live beyond the boundaries of the colony for six months before the end of theirterm.

Prisoners kept under strict treatment are held in locked cells and have the right to one hour of exercise. Transfer of a prisoner to strict treatment is not considered a punishment.

Persistent violators of the colony's internal regulations can be transferred to prison for up to three years by a court decision.



disciplinary fine of up to two minimum monthly wages;

confinement in a ShIZO for up to 15 days;

transfer to a PKT for up to 6 months (up to three monthes for women) or to EPKT for up to one year (for men only).

2.3. Prisons

Prisons are enclosed by a high (up to 10 m) fence equipped with security devices (alorms, video cameras, etc.), rows of barbed wire, etc., and patrolled by armed guards and dogs. Prisoners are kept in permanently locked mass cells (between 5 and 30 people), which they leave only to go to work, take exercise, or see a visitor. There are separate units for different groups of prisoners serving their term; prisoners engaged in prison service; for prisoners being punished (punishment cell); production areas; exercise yards; etc. Four to five percent of all prisoners serve their term in prisons. There are a total of 13 prisons in Russia, one of which is for women and one for prisoners suffering from an open form of tuberculosis.

Two groups of prisoners are kept in prisons:

those convicted of grave and particularly grave crimes for more then five years, whom the court has ordered to serve part of their term in prison;

prisoners transferred by court order to prison from an IK for disciplinary violations (maximum prison term of up to three years).

Due to overcrowding in SIZOs, persons under investigation and defendants are now kept in some prisons.

Two types of treatment:

* strict treatment, for newcomers or persistent violators of internal regulations (apart from pregnant women, women with children under three years old, and invalids);

* general treatment, for prisoners who have not committed any disciplinary violations or have been transferred from strict treatment no earlier than one year after they entered prison.

Pursuant to Russian legislation, a prison is the strictest form of panishment. Prisoners kept under strict traintment are allowed the following:

one hour of exercise;

one package or one parcel with printed matter a year;

to buy food products and essential items in an amount of up to 20% of the minimum wage (16 rubles, or less then two dollars);

two short (up to three hours) visits by relatives.


the same as for IK prisoners;

IU Hospitals.


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