Happy New Year, Happy New Punishment

People sentenced to forced labor may be sent to facilities owned by state corporations. Photo courtesy of Yevgeny Odinokov/RIA Novosti

New, Alternative Form of Punishment Comes into Effect in Russia on January First
RIA Novosti
January 1, 2016

A new, alternative form of punishment—forced labor—comes into effect in Russia on January 1, 2017. According to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), it will be a reasonable alternative to terms of imprisonment from two months to five years for minor or moderately severe crimes, or for severe first-time offenses.

However, people sentenced to forced labor will not be isolated from society, which will encourage their socialization. Experts says the measure is also a good way of combating overcrowding in Russia’s prisons and penal colonies.

There are few restrictions under the punishment. Convicts cannot choose their own work, quit their jobs, and leave the correctional center without permission of the wardens. Convicts are wholly forbidden from consuming alcohol and gambling. On the other hand, they enjoy a guaranteed salary, medical insurance, and other rights enshrined in the Labor Code. The convicts will live in dormitories at the correctional centers. In addition, convictions will have the right to a paid holiday. However, holidays will be granted only to convicts with whom the wardens have no complaints.

The first four correctional facilities are already open for business: as of January 1, they can take in 900 people sentenced to forced labor. The correctional centers are located in Stavropol Territory, Maritime Territory, Tambov Region, and Tyumen Region. The FSIN claims that such centers will open in all regions of the country in the near future. They will be located mainly at work-release penal colonies. However, those sentenced to forced labor will be housed separately from the correctional facilities’ other inmates.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to OVD Info for the heads-up