Soviet Archives - Collection of Government Documents on Workers

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From the Collection of enactment and decrees of the government for 1921, Administration of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR

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1921, No. 22, Art. 138 

Decree of the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars.

On imprisonment and on the procedure for parole of prisoners.

Taking into account that, by depriving the freedom of persons recognized as dangerous for the Soviet system, the judicial and administrative bodies of the Soviet Republic should pursue the goal of: 1) putting such persons in the actual impossibility of causing harm and 2) providing them with the opportunity to reform and adapt to working life.

The Council of Peopleʹs Commissars decides to establish the following general principles of isolation of persons recognized as dangerous for the Soviet Republic, and their transfer from more severe forms of isolation to less severe ones, up to early release from punishment:

I.                    To establish the maximum limit of punishment by imprisonment, as well as forced labor without detention in five years.

II.                  If instead of imprisonment, compulsory labor without detention is used, indicate in the sentences one of the two types of this punishment: community‐based forced labor or forced labor in a specialty.

III.                To oblige all judicial institutions to indicate in sentences of imprisonment whether the convicted person is subject to stricter or less severe isolation.

IV.                Establish the following procedure for the parole of prisoners convicted by the Peopleʹs Courts and Revolutionary Tribunals.

1)                   Conditional release is expressed either in full release from punishment, or in the maintenance of forced labor without detention for the entire remaining period or part of it.

2)                   A petition for early release may be initiated by the person deprived of liberty, his relatives, organizations, institutions and officials ‐ not earlier than the prisoner has served half of the sentence. Judicial institutions do not have the right to initiate an early release issue.

3)                   Only the Provincial Distribution Commissions have the right to grant early release earlier than half of the term.

4)                   The petitions are sent: a) to the Peopleʹs Court or the Revolutionary Tribunal, which passed the sentence, if the person deprived of his liberty is serving his sentence in the area under their jurisdiction; b) to the Peopleʹs Court or to the Revolutionary Tribunal at the place of serving the sentence, if the place is in another area.

Note . When considering a petition at the place of serving the sentence, a genuine case must be requested.

5)                   The petition for early release is considered by the Peopleʹs Court or the Revolutionary Tribunal no later than one month from the date of receipt, in open court, with the summons of both the person serving the sentence and the persons or representatives of the institutions that have filed the petition for his release, and failure of any of them to appear does not stop the consideration of the case.

6)                   In all cases of consideration of applications for early release, the presence of a representative of the Provincial Distribution Commission is mandatory.

7)                   If a person released early commits a crime of the same kind during the period not served, he is immediately deprived of liberty by order of a judicial or investigative body until a new sentence is passed. The term imposed by the judicial authorities on a new sentence of imprisonment or forced labor without detention may not be less than the term by which the sentence was originally reduced, and in aggregate should not exceed five years from the date of the new sentence.

Signed by: Chairman of the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars V. Ulyanov (Lenin) . N. Gorbunov, Administrator of the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars . Secretary L. Fotieva . March 21, 1921.

Published in No. 64 of Izvestia of the All‐Russian Central Executive

Committee of Soviets dated March 25, 1921.