Denis recently returned from Siberian penal colony.
No… he wasn’t convicted for any crime. Being a popular blogger he was invited by the press-service of Federal Penitentiary Service of Khakassia to visit one of the colonies and make report about the life of Russian inmates.
I don’t know whether this specific prison is “privileged” but, as Denis writes in his post, he was offered to choose by himself which colony he wanted to visit. He chose the penal colony No. 33 …
Penal colony No. 33 in Molodyozhniy village
[ All pictures and description are taken from http://danlux.livejournal.com/34360.html ]
The excursion was organized in a “no censorship” format. I was allowed to photograph anything except of making close-up pictures of the locking devices and protective equipment. Also I could ask convicts and prison staff any questions.
It was early September morning. Upon arriving to the checkpoint, we could hear the sounds of march and Russian national anthem from behind the fence, as the inmates were preparing for the morning check-up.
This picture was the first thing we saw after entering the colony. It’s quite unusual sensation – to feel how about eight hundred prisoners simultaneously turn their heads to look at you.
Accompanied by the sounds of anthem, the convicts started to go to their workplaces or barracks.
The dark gray uniform is identical for all. Each inmate wears a special badge (on the right side of the chest) in which the following information is written: name, offense for which the person is convicted and the length of stay in the colony. In the left chest pocket everyone carries a pen. Curiously, almost all prisoners here wear watches.
First we examined the quarantine section. Here “newcomers” spend about two weeks. They don’t come in contact with the main contingent of the colony and even have their own inner yard.
These guys are “newbies” and haven’t yet mastered the institution’s order. Even “Hello!” they couldn’t shout in one voice.
During the first two weeks inmates undergo medical and psychological examination, and learn the rules of the colony. Here, they get such badges.
And this is the barrack with strict imprisonment conditions. Here come the most “incorrigible rogues”. They have less privileges than other inmates: per year they are allowed to receive only two big and two small parcels and are entitled for just two short and one long visit.
The “strict” section has rather liberal living conditions. Its inhabitants can even “pay visits” to each other’s cell.
Since these prisoners live in locked space, they are allowed 1.5 hour of daily stroll in this yard. Differently from other colony’s zones, its top is covered with net.
To encourage the law-abiding behavior, the convicts are given the possibility of transfer from the strict to regular area. Such transfer, however can be done not before the inmates spend 9 months under strict rules without any violations.
This territory is a kind of prison inside of prison. Here are detained the inmates who are still investigated. They do not have any contact with other prisoners.
Schedule for the detainees under investigation.
6:00 – Waking up
6:00 – 7:00 – Morning procedures, tiding the beds, cleaning of the cells
7:00 – 8:00 – Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 – Morning check-up
9:00 – 12:00 – Strolling, rest
9:00 – 17:00 – Participation in procedures related to the investigation
12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch
13:00 – 17:00 – Strolling, rest
13:00 – 17:00 – Reception in medical unit
15:00 – 17:00 – Reception by administration of the unit
17:00 – 18:00 – Dinner
19:00 – 20:00 – Evening check-up
21:30 – 22:00 – Preparations for sleep
22:00 – 06:00 – Sleep (continuous)
Personal items and books are issued on Thursdays.
Bathing / Washing of clothes on Fridays.
Desinfection of cells with quartz – once per week.
We also visited the on-duty unit whose employees actively work with inmates.
Billboard with the pictures of convicts who are put on preventive supervision.
From top to bottom:
Rows 1-2 – tendency to attack the workers of administration
Rows 3-9 – tendency to commit crimes against the “sexual immunity” [ed: of other convicts ?]
Rows 10-13 – tendency to escape
Row 14 – ???
Rows 15 – 17 – having mental disorders
Rows -18 – 19 – tendency to sabotage the activity of the institution
Prison hospital. Among the staff I noticed a very young nurse. She said that she was not afraid to work here.
The territory of the prison is extremely clean – as if it is vacuum cleaned.
There are even flower beds and fountain. But don’t think that prisoners live here like in resort. Everything is organized by themselves. No additional staff works here, not even in the kitchen or dining room!
The entire territory of the colony is covered with quotes of famous personalities (from Dostoevsky to Putin) on the topic of “crime and punishment”.
The quote above, for example, says: “It’s hard to live in poverty, but even worse – to get rich in unjust way“.
The penal colony has its own church.
The prison church rector, Valeriy is here from 2000 and will have to stay in the colony until 2019. He is constantly visited by three daughters and son – all of whom are respected and successful people.
Next to each unit there is a smoking area. They don’t have money here, the only means of payment are cigarettes and tea. In exchange, one can get other goods (services).
By the way, there is a shop in the colony, where you can buy some food and basic necessities. Money is deducted from the personal account, which is either replenished by relatives or from convict’s “salary”.
The labor in colony is voluntary. Mandatory it is only for those who have to pay money to victims according to the lawsuit. Some of those who don’t want to work, walk in the yard from one edge to another, from the morning till the evening. In such way they are killing time.
It’s not forbidden to keep small pets and aquarium fishes.
Prison entertainment room. Above TV is the portrait of Russian President, on the right – the national coat of arms and flag, on the left - aquarium.
A typical bedroom in barrack. Each bed has the label similar to the badge of convicts.
There are no individual cells with TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and satellite phones…
Writing the schedule of cleaning duties?
Some sort of winter garden. Dmitry who takes care of the flowers serves the term of 8 years.
Prison dining room.
Food is cooked by inmates themselves. No cooks here.
The prison employees don’t eat in the dining room. They bring their food from home.
Besides flowers, they also grow here vegetables, which are immediately used in the kitchen.
Afterwards we visited the “industrial zone” – complex of various workshops. There is even the service station for repair of car frames.
The penal colony has its own fire station.
That day on the duty was Pyotr serving the term of 2 years for the theft.
Inmates working in the industrial zone are issued with various tools, which they return in the end of each day. Anyway, in addition they have to pass proper body search.
Wood carving shop. For some reason most patterns have Eastern themes: mosques, minarets, people in turbans.
Residents of the penal colony have excellent conditions for creative work. Though, when we entered the workshop, they had very loud music switched on.
Carpenters produce a variety of items – from chairs for children to coffins.
Local arts workshop.
Prison hostel. The well-behaved convicts who haven’t “earned” any penalties are entitled for two weeks of “vacation” each year during which they live not in barracks, but in this hostel. Though the conditions are rather similar in both places, here they have a small theater with Blu-ray player and projector.
One of the hostel rooms.
Inmates with musical talents also have how to entertain themselves. The penal colony has its own music band – “Oasis”.
For Valeriy this is already the second prison term. Both times were for drugs.
Soccer field. Prisoners can play football almost without any limitations.