Minor improvements to prisoners’ conditions in Russia
New law introduced to humanise the prison system
Vladimir Putin has signed a law to humanise Russia’s penal system which has been published on the Government’s legal information website. Vasily Piskarev, Chair of the State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee, said that it was necessary to improve the conditions of those held in detention or in prison in order to “help them on the journey to rehabilitation”.
The age of children who can stay with their mothers in a pre-trial detention centre or in prison while they are serving their sentences has been raised from three to four years of age. The law also increases the amount that prisoners can have with them to buy food and other basic essentials from 7,800 to 10,200 roubles. It will also allow the use of video cameras and microphones in pre-trial detention centres subject to the written consent of the person arrested.
Those sentenced to hard labour can now be accommodated in mobile buildings and facilities (previously only in dormitories), with the standard floor space per person increased from four to five square metres. Offenders will not be allowed to leave their place of residence at night, weekends or public holidays without the permission of the prison authorities.
The law also introduces a new prison commission that will decide what punishments can be imposed on offenders, as well as changing the procedures for lifting such penalties. As a result, an offender will no longer be considered dangerous if he or she does not receive another conviction within one year of serving their original sentence. This will be taken into account in any decisions to commute punishments.