Belarus has 140 prisoners sentenced for life

2013 2013-02-11T14:18:33+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

About 140 people are serving life sentences in Belarus, more than 80 of them in the Zhodzina prison #8. This is stated in the article "Sentenced to Life", published in the latest issue of the newspaper of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, "Na Strazhe".

According to the head of the life sentence penal brigade Vasil Zankevich, the prison houses both people with prior convictions and without them, both illiterate people and those with several higher educations.

"The oldest prisoner was about 60 years old when he was transferred to the penal colony #13 in Hlybokaye, where the conditions are better: the walks are longer, one can receive more food parcels and meetings with relatives and lives in a barrack-type house instead of a cell", says the office of the penitentiary system. "All life prisoners kept in Zhodzina get such an opportunity after serving ten years in prison, in the case they had no serious violations of the prison rules. After ten more years the colony administration gets the right to apply to court for changing the life sentence to a prison term."

According to the article, the prisoners always follow the news from TV programs and printed editions, hoping for abatements in the legislation. Moreover, they learn languages and read books from the proposed catalog. They are issued with books and the press from the library once in every ten days. The prisoners begin from easy reading, but then start thinking deep about life and proceed to classical literature. Among the popular authors there are Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Kuprin, Bunin and historical books."

The cells are equipped with radio, sockets and buttons for calling the guards. The guard looks in the peephole every 15 minutes. It is prohibited to walk in the cell after the lights-out. One can only use the toilet.

The night lighting is weak, so that the prisoners can sleep quietly, but is enough for the guards to see everything. Those who violate the prison regime can be put in a penal cell for up to 10 days.

According to the article, the regime is rather strict. Outside the living sector, the prisoners with the mark "SL" (sentenced for life) are lead in a bent position, with legs wide apart, hands in handcuffs behind raised high behind the back, fingers spread apart. It is prohibited to straighten up and raise the head. The prisoners must obey all orders immediately. Each prisoner is escorted by two guards with dogs.

The walks last 30 minutes. The walking room is a cell with bars instead of the ceiling.

A prisoner sentenced for life is allowed to received one food parcel weighing up to 30 kilos and two long-term meetings up to 4 hours during a year. He can also buy the necessary goods by a cashless transfer in the prison shop twice a month, receive parcels with books and other items.