As part of the visit to Snezhnoye Penal Colony of the State Penitentiary Service of the DPR Ministry of Justice, human rights defenders carried out an inspection of the conditions of detention of persons serving sentences, they also paid special attention to the observance of convicts’ rights by the administration of the correctional facility.
Currently, 158 convicts are serving their sentences in the institution under three detention regimes: common regime – 124 persons, a section for persons who have previously served sentences – 28, and an isolated section of open prison – 6. All convicts are adult women.
Staff of the Ombudsman Office met the executives of the penitentiary and discussed prisoners’ living conditions, cultural and disciplinary issues, as well as education and employment of prisoners.
Also, special attention was paid to health care in the institution. It was found that a medical unit is operating on the territory of the colony: a physician’s office, gynaecologist, dentist, purulent dressing room, probationary ward for patients with airborne and intestinal infections, 2 wards for inpatient treatment and a laboratory. The medical unit is fully provided with medicine and disinfectants.
A preventive medical examination of convicts serving sentences in the institution is carried out annually, as well as a medical examination of newly-arrived convicts.
On the territory of the colony, there is a club for up to 200 people, where cultural events are held, including watching movies through a film projector. Also, in a separate building, there is a library, which has an Orthodox corner for the religious needs of convicts.
Classes with an extramural form of study are available in the institution. Currently, 43 convicts receive education (100% of all persons without education). Upon completion of the course, certificates of a standard form shall be issued for them. The students are fully provided with educational literature and stationery, the classrooms are fully furnished.
Also, a Training Centre for convicts was established. It offers seamstress and tailor courses. 40 convicts enrolled for the courses for the 2018-2019 academic year. There are 5 premises at the disposal of the Training Centre: for theoretical and practical education, for staff. Labour adaptation centre is operating in the Colony. The main activity is garment manufacture. There are 2 operating production departments: 1 – cutting and 1 – sewing. 51 convicts are employed.
Ombudsman Office staff comment positively on the detention conditions and functioning of the Colony.
As a result of interviews with the convicts, a number of areas of concern were identified, namely:
1) Persons convicted before 2014, who expressed desire to continue serving their sentences in the territory of Ukraine due to family links (according to the Decree of the DPR Head No. 424 of 12.11.2015), are deprived of the ability to be transferred to the above-mentioned territory due to the lack of agreement thereto by official representatives of Ukraine.
2) The majority of the convicts who have served a part of their sentence as envisaged by the Criminal Code of the DPR were denied conditional release by Court.
Staff of Ombudsman Office continue to carry out inspections in penitentiary institutions of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as to interview convicts and provide legal advice to them.