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The answers of the Prosecutor General’s Office
to the questionnaire of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors
on prosecutors’ interaction with prison administration

Question 2

According to the prevailing legislation of the Russian Federation the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation exercises supervision over the execution of the laws and observance of human rights and freedoms by the federal ministries, state committees, services and other federal bodies of executive power, subjects exercising pubic control over ensuring human rights in the places of forced confinement and assistance to the persons, staying in places of forced confinement, and also over the execution of the laws by administrations of bodies and institutions, which enforce punishment and apply coercive measures imposed by the court, by the administrations of detention and remand facilities.

Supervision shall be exercised over the following:

- the legality of holding persons in detention facilities, in custody pending trial and in correctional labour and other penal bodies and institutions, enforcing the punishment and coercive measures imposed by the court;

- observance of the rights and responsibilities of detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures, and of the procedure and conditions governing their detention;

- the legality of the execution of non-custodial sentences.

When exercising supervision over the execution of laws, prosecutors shall be entitled:

- to visit at any time the penitentiary bodies and institutions; to question detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures;

- to inspect the records on the basis of which these persons were detained, remanded in custody, convicted or subjected to compulsory measures, together with the relevant operative materials;

- to require the administration to create the necessary conditions to safeguard the rights of detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures, to ensure that any orders, regulations or decisions issued by the administration of the penitentiary bodies and institutions conform to the legislation of the Russian Federation, to demand explanations from officials, to make appeals and recommendations and to institute administrative proceedings. Pending the examination of an appeal, the operation of the enactment appealed against shall be suspended by the administration of the institution concerned;
- to set aside any disciplinary penalties imposed in violation of the law against persons remanded in custody or convicted prisoners, to order their immediate release from punishment cells, cell-type accommodation, solitary confinement cells or disciplinary cells.
The supervising prosecutor shall be bound to immediately order the release of any person who is being held without legal justification in penal institutions, enforcing punishment and coercive measures, or who has been unlawfully detained, remanded in custody pending trial or placed in a psychiatric institution.

Question 4

When a law violation is detected, the prosecutor shall be entitled:

- to require that the administration create the necessary conditions to safeguard the rights of detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners, to ensure that any orders, regulations or decisions issued by the administration of the penitentiary bodies and institutions conform to the legislation of the Russian Federation, to demand explanations from officials, to make appeals and recommendations and to institute administrative proceedings;
- to set aside any disciplinary penalties imposed in violation of the law against persons remanded in custody or convicted prisoners, to order their immediate release from punishment cells, cell-type accommodation, solitary confinement cells or disciplinary cells.
The prosecutor or his deputy shall be bound to immediately order the release of any person who is being held without legal justification in penal institutions, enforcing punishment and coercive measures, or who has been unlawfully detained, remanded in custody pending trial or placed in a psychiatric institution.
Any decrees and requests issued by the prosecutor concerning observance of the statutory procedure and conditions for holding detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures or placed in psychiatric institutions shall be subject to compulsory execution by the administration and also by the bodies enforcing court sentences in respect of the persons sentenced to non-custodial penalties.
The officials entitled to visit at any time the bodies and institutions enforcing punishment without any special permission thereto in executing their official duties are the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, the prosecutors of the Russian Federation constituent components (subjects) and their subordinate prosecutors, and also the prosecutors, who directly supervise over the execution of punishment on the appropriate territories.
Question 5

Along with the control by the courts, agencies, the general public over the activities of penal institutions of the system for enforcing criminal punishments (SECP) a special role belongs to the prosecution bodies.
A unique feature of the prosecution service as an authority exercising control over law observance in SECP institutions and bodies is accounted for, firstly, by the fact that it is an independent authority, whose activities are subordinated to the law only, and requiring, due to its competences, unconditional compliance with the law requirements from other organizations, officials and citizens.
Secondly, the prosecution service possesses a wide range of possibilities to detect law violations, including consider convicts’ claims, free visits to penitentiary institutions and remand centers by the supervising prosecutors, documentary checks of the activities of the SECP institutions’ administrations, require the necessary information and so on.
Besides, prosecutors have powers in respect of the institutions and organizations supervised by them. Their demands to eliminate the detected law violations are binding for SECP officials, institutions and bodies.
Another distinctive feature of the prosecutor’s supervision is that it allows to promptly restore the violated rights of prisoners. Many violations are eliminated right in the course of checks in penitentiary institutions, the others, registered in special acts of prosecutor’s response – in prosecutor’s protests and submissions –in 10 and 30 days time respectively. While doing so the prosecutors not only detect violations and demand their elimination, but also reveal the causes of such violations in order to avoid them in future.

Question 7

In the Russian Federation while exercising supervision over the execution of laws the prosecutor shall be entitled to visit at any time to visit at any time the bodies and institutions (including penitentiary), to question detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures; to inspect the records on the basis of which these persons were detained, remanded in custody, convicted or subjected to compulsory measures, together with the relevant operative material.
Besides, in conformity with Article 37 Part 2 (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation (hereinafter RF CCP) the prosecutor is entitled to give consent to the inquirer for their addressing the court with a petition for the selection, the cancellation or the modification of the measure of restriction, or for the performance of any other procedural action, admissible on the ground of the court decision; pursuant to Article 37 Part 2 (8) of the RF CCP to participate in court proceedings during pre-trial examination of the issues on selecting a measure of restriction in the form of detention, on the prolongation of the term of detention or on the revocation or change of this measure of restriction.
Question 8

Yes, he can. The prosecutor shall be entitled to visit at any time penitentiary bodies and institutions, to question detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures.

Question 9

In conformity with the Order No.19 of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation of 30.01.2007 “On organization of supervision over the execution of laws by the administrations of bodies and institutions enforcing criminal punishments and remand centers in respect to keeping suspects and accused of the commission of crimes” the authorized prosecutors every month perform checks of law observance in remand centers and penitentiary institutions of the criminal enforcement system, and the prosecutors of the subjects of the Russian Federation carry out such checks in person not less than once in three months. Every time the prosecutor performs a check he is obliged to pay special attention to the issues of securing the rights and lawful interests of the persons staying in penitentiary institutions.
Based on the results of these checks given there are grounds available the prosecutors shall be entitled to introduce their requirements and proposals on bringing the conditions of keeping persons in penitentiary institutions in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Europe.

Question 10

In case of a negligent attitude to the orders of the court and prosecution bodies on the part of the officials, the supervising prosecutor shall be bound to demand that the administration create conditions, ensuring the rights of detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures, to ensure that any orders, regulations or decisions issued by the administration of the bodies and institutions conform to the legislation of the Russian Federation, to demand explanations from officials, to make appeals and recommendations, to announce warnings, to institute administrative proceedings, file cases to the court, to send information letters and so on. Pending examination of an appeal, the operation of the instrument appealed against shall be suspended by the administration of the institution concerned.
It should be noted that the decrees and requests issued by the prosecutor concerning observance of the statutory procedure and conditions for holding detainees, remand prisoners, convicted prisoners and persons subjected to compulsory measures or placed in psychiatric institutions shall be subject to compulsory execution by the administration and also by the bodies enforcing court sentences in respect of the persons sentenced to non-custodial penalties.
Besides, by virtue of Article 37 Part 2 (2) of the RF CCP the prosecutor shall be entitled to pass a grounded resolution on forwarding the appropriate materials to an investigative or inquiring body to resolve the issue of criminal prosecution in respect of the detected violations of the criminal law.

Question 11

In conformity with the Order No.19 of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation of 30.01.2007 “On organization of supervision over the execution of laws by the administrations of bodies and institutions enforcing criminal punishments and remand centers in respect to keeping suspects and accused of the commission of crimes” the authorized prosecutors every month perform checks of law observance in remand centers and correctional institutions of the criminal enforcement system, and the prosecutors of the subjects of the Russian Federation do this in person not less than once in three months. If necessary, the checks are carried out immediately, irrespective of the regularity.
Concrete mandatory follow-ups related to these visits are not envisaged by the legislation.
However, in case of detecting violations prosecutors file recommendations to respective officials on the elimination of law violations and bringing the persons guilty thereof to disciplinary liability, file protests in respect of illegal enactments, announce warnings, institute administrative proceedings, file cases to the courts, send information letters and so on. If necessary, prosecutors carry out control checks in the penal institutions of criminal enforcement system.

Question 12

While exercising supervision the prosecutor shall be entitled to visit at any time penitentiary bodies and institutions.
Furthermore, under the Order No.19 of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation of 30.01.2007 “On organization of supervision over the execution of laws by the administrations of bodies and institutions, executing criminal punishments, remand centers when keeping suspects and accused of the commission of crimes” prosecutors are obliged to make checks of isolation wards and penitentiary institutions during non-working hours.

Question 13

While performing the entrusted functions the prosecutor shall be entitled to commission experts to clarify the arising questions.

Question 14

The prosecution bodies receive, and in conformity with the competences, resolved the applications, claims and other submissions containing information on law violations (including during imprisonment or keeping persons in custody). On each claim where it is examined by a prosecution body, the prosecutor checks all the statements contained in it.
While referring an application to another state authority, a local government body or another official they may be asked to provide the information on the results of the consideration of the application.
The application may not be transmitted for the consideration to a state authority, a local government body or the official, whose act (omission) is appealed against.

Question 15

The prosecutor has no competences to check the communications about crimes and conduct preliminary investigation.
However, on each case of a death of the persons kept in penitentiary institutions and remand centres, and likewise a crime committed in a penitentiary institution, the prosecutor is obliged to arrange for sending the materials to investigative authorities for making checks pursuant to Articles 144-145 of the RF CPC.
If a criminal case is instituted the authorized prosecutor exercises supervision over its investigation.

Question 16

In his/her activities the supervising prosecutor is governed by the principle of equality of all the detainees and convicts, and performs his/her activities, irrespective of the risk group they belong to.

Question 17

The prosecutor is autonomous while executing his supervising activities on monitoring the detention’s legality.
At the same time the prosecution service of the Russian Federation is a single centralized system in which lower-level prosecutors are subordinate to higher-level prosecutors and to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

Question 18

In all cases of pre-term release of the convicted prisoner (following the acts of pardon, amnesty in conformity with the resolution or determination of the court) the prosecutor must supervise the legality of the decision made and a timely release of the person concerned.
The prosecution bodies do not supervise over the persons who have served their term of punishment.

Question 19

In order to ensure for the high level of professional training in the prosecution service of the Russian Federation there is a system of continuous education and professional development of the personnel, including individual and group training according to a special curriculum, a probation in superior prosecution bodies, scientific and education institutions of the prosecution service, training in regional education centers and institutes of professional development.
Advance professional training is deemed an official duty of prosecutors.

Question 20

In accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation prosecutors are entrusted with participation in court examination stages of criminal proceedings in prosecutions on behalf of a state and in state-private prosecution, and also in criminal trials in private prosecution, if a criminal case was instituted by an investigator or, at prosecutor’s consent, by an inquirer.
The prosecutor (the state prosecuting party) in determining his position as to the punishment is governed by the requirements of the law on its proportionality and fairness taking into account the nature and level of the public danger of the crime, the personality of the guilty person, and also the circumstances mitigating and aggravating the punishment.
In case the court passes an unlawful, unjustified and unfair decision in criminal matters the prosecutor is obliged to timely submit appeal and cassation petitions against such decisions.
Besides, the prosecutor must in time file supervision petitions with the view to repeal the court decisions in criminal matters in connection with the application of a law which provides for a more grave crime, due to the light punishment or on other grounds entailing the aggravation of the convicts’ position, as well as an acquittal decision or resolution or determination of the court on the termination of the criminal case or criminal prosecution, if in the previous examination serious law violations were made which influenced the outcome of the case.

Question 21

In order to increase the efficiency of supervision over the lawfulness of execution of criminal punishments prosecution authorities carry out joint coordinated actions together with federal executive power authorities, their representatives in the subjects of the Russian Federation, public organizations.
In the framework of interaction with the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation and human rights organizations, including those abroad, information exchange is carried out on human rights in the SECP institutions. Notably, the Department has been regularly preparing such information in connection with the applications and visits of the delegations of the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture, UN Committee against Torture, UN Parliamentary Assembly, human right organization “Amnesty International” and others.
Moreover, in conformity with the Federal Law No. 73-FZ “On public control over human rights in the places of forced confinement and on assistance to the persons, staying in the places of forced confinement” in each subject of the Russian Federation public supervising commissions have been established and operating which are entrusted with the competences to exercise public control over human rights in the places of deprivation of freedom, including by visits to these institutions.
The prosecutors are directed to determine the forms and methods of interaction with the public control subjects, providing to them the necessary aid, including legal, in carrying out their functions.
The prosecution bodies attach priority attention to the constructive cooperation with public associations and organizations, cooperating closely with them.

Prosecutor General’s Office of the
Russian Federation

March 2011