Legal training behind barbed wire

A lot of convicts face issues that require at least basic legal knowledge when they go to prison. It is expected to be a quite difficult for prisoners to understand all of this issues yourself, but it can be possible with the help of qualified lawyer. It’s commonplace when prisoners don’t have enough money for lawyer’s assistance, but they can receive help from students of law faculty freely.

For more than 20 years, the project on legal counseling has been promoted by students of the Law School of the Siberian Federal University for convicted in prisons of the Krasnoyarsk region. Under the direction of the A. D. Nazarov, Head of the department of Criminal procedure and Criminalistics of Law School of the Siberian Federal University, Chairman of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Public Committee for the Protection of Human Rights, Doctor of Law, Chairman of the Public Council under the GUFSIN of Russia in the Krasnoyarsk region, future lawyers visit correctional institutions, meet with convicts, conduct counseling and study the psychological climate. A. D. Nazarov affirms that such cooperation is very productive and mutually beneficial:

«Obviously convicts gain a lot of benefits for from the meetings with law students. Students help them to understand legal issues, explain how to behave in a particular situation, what they should do if they have legal problems. In addition, when future lawyers visit prison, they obtain invaluable practical experience. I often come across the fact that young people have a distorted view of a legislative model for organizing the process of correcting convicts while they are serving a sentence of real imprisonment. The purpose of the teacher is not only to convey information based on the norms of current legislation and judicial practice. Moreover, the teacher should tell about the enormous work of the staff of the penitentiary system for the effective implementation of remedies for each individual convicted person and for the prevention of the repetition of crimes on their part after release».

Recently, students of the master’s degree program “Pre-trial criminal proceedings” worked in the Krasnoyarsk female prison (for women who have repeatedly committed crimes) No. 22. First-year students Dmitry Kostenko, Roman Grishaev and Olga Degit provided legal assistance for the convicts.

The convicts asked the students about the issues of enforcement proceedings and inheritance law, the administrative process, medical law, appealing against actions (omission) of the bodies of preliminary investigation and attorneys, the exercise of civil rights, the application of disciplinary measures, consideration of appeals of convicts addressed to state bodies, wage deduction, issuance of a receipt on behalf of the prison administration on acceptance of sentences, applications, petitions and complaints from convicted persons, establishment of administrative supervision after release from places of deprivation of liberty, replacement of the unserved term of the sentence with a softer one or by a strict type of punishment, the calculation of this term in imposing criminal punishment on the cumulative sentences, etc. Besides, the specialists of the pension fund consulted convicts on questions concerning pension reform.

According to the opinion of the staff of the prison, it is much easier to work with legally literate convicts, as they know not only their rights, but also their duties, and they are ready to engage in constructive dialogues, listen to the opinions of others, feel more confident and protected without unnecessary conflicts and complaints.

The visit of our students ended with excursion of the colony divisions. The future experts in the field of criminal justice got acquainted with the life and lifestyle of convicted women during this excursion.

Translated by:

Svetlana Fomina