Law of Ukraine

"On Amendment of the Criminal Executive Code of Ukraine to Adapt the Legal Status of the Convict to the European Standards"

Date of entry into force:
May 7, 2014

According to the new version of Article 8, part 1 of the Criminal Executive Code of Ukraine, convicts have the right to:
  • receive information about their rights and obligations, and the procedure and conditions of execution and service of their court sentence. The administration of the penitentiary institution or body must provide the convicts with the above information, and inform them of any changes in the procedure and condition of their service of sentence;
  • be treated humanely and with respect to their dignity; convicts must not be subjected to cruel, inhumane or humiliating treatment. Measures of influence can be exercised against convicts exclusively according to law; convicts cannot be subjected to medical or other similar research regardless of their consent;
  • according to the legislation, address proposals, statements and complaints to the administration of penitentiary institutions and bodies, their superior bodies, the Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the European Court of Human Rights, and other appropriate bodies of international organizations where Ukraine is a member or a participant, authorized persons of such international organizations, courts, prosecutor bodies, other state authorities, bodies of self-government, and associations. Appropriate statements are submitted in two copies, one to be retained by the convict with a note of receipt;
  • provide explanations and maintain correspondence, and address proposals, statements and complaints in their native languages. Responses to convicts are provided in the language of their statement. If giving a response in the language of the statement is impossible, response is given in Ukrainian and translated to the language of the statement (translation provided for by the penitentiary institution or body);
  • receive health care within the scope set by the Fundamentals of the Legislation of Ukraine on Health Care, with the exception of restrictions provided for by law. Health care is provided by a system of medical, sanitary, recreation and prophylactic institutions, in a combination of paid and free forms of medical aid. The convict is guaranteed the right to free selection and access of physician to receive medical aid, including at the convict's own expense. Convicts with psychic or behavioral disorders caused by use of alcohol, narcotics, psychotropic substances, their analogs, or other intoxicating substances can undergo a course of treatment for such disorders, at their written consent;
  • social security, including appointment of pensions, according to the laws of Ukraine;
  • receive parcels according to the procedure established by law (except for items that convicts are prohibited to possess by law, particularly, weapons, narcotics, psychotropic substances, and precursors);
  • paid labor, organized according to the requirements of the labor legislation, including requirements as to labor duration, condition, and remuneration; an eight-hour working day is established, not exceeding 40 hours per week. The working day hours are between 7 and 17, or 6 and 16;
  • freedom to practice any religion or express beliefs related to attitude to religion, including free selection and access of a minister to officiate sacraments and rituals, with the exception of restrictions provided for by the Code;
  • appropriate material support and welfare, according to the procedure established by law and normative legal acts of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

The convict is guaranteed the right to legal aid. To receive legal aid, convicts can use the services of attorneys or other specialists in the legal field that, according to law, have the right to provide legal aid, personally or on behalf of a legal entity. Such right is also granted to convicts receiving inpatient care in health care institutions (new version of Article 8, part 2 of the Code).

The Law supplements Article 8 of the Code with new parts that provide as follows:
  • the convict is guaranteed the right to visits, according to the procedure established by the Code. In case of receiving inpatient care in health care institutions, the convict has the right to short-term visits, according to the procedure established by the Code;
  • unjustified forced interruption of the convicts' sleep during night-time is forbidden, including interruption with the exclusive purpose of checking the presence of the convicts;
  • the head of the penitentiary institution administration is personally responsible for assignment of convicts arriving at the institution. It is forbidden to house such convicts in the same premises as persons with two or more prior convictions, or persons who, due to their psychological qualities, may have a negative influence on such convicts.

Penitentiary bodies and institutions carry out medical treatment of convicts with diseases that present a danger to the health of others, who did not undergo a full course of medical treatment. Persons with tuberculosis must be kept in separate premises, away from other prisoners (new version of Article 21, part 1 of the Code).

The Law presents a new version of Article 24 of the Code, which establishes the procedure for visiting penitentiary institutions.

Community organizations, media, religious organization, charities, and individuals can provide aid to penitentiary bodies and institutions by assisting prisoner correction and carrying out social and awareness-raising work, according to the procedure established by the Code and laws of Ukraine (new version of Article 25, part 1 of the Law).

Amendments to Article 26 of the Code clarify the procedure for serving sentences in the form of fine.

The criminal executive inspection maintains a record of persons sentenced to deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or carry out certain activities; it controls adherence to the requirements of the court sentence by the convict, owner of the company, institution, organization or their authorized body at the convict's place of employment, and by the authority that has the right to withdraw the permit to carry out certain kind of activity that is prohibited to the convict; it files petitions concerning attachment of convicts who failed to attend at the summons of the criminal executive inspection without valid reasons, and regarding a search for convicts whose location is unknown, according to the provisions of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine (new version of Article 31, part 1 of the Code).

The Law excludes part 2 of Article 35 of the Code, according to which a person sentenced to deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or carry out certain activities who was put on the wanted list due to evasion from serving punishment, is detained and convoyed by an internal affairs authority, according to the procedure provided for by the criminal procedural legislation.

Amendments to Article 51 of the Code establish the following:
  • persons sentenced to arrest are held in isolation, with separate assignment of men, women, minors, persons with prior convictions, previously incarcerated persons, and persons who formerly worked in courts, prosecutor bodies, law enforcement and justice bodies. Foreign nationals and stateless persons are usually kept separately from other convicts;
  • persons sentenced to arrest have the same rights, obligations, prohibitions and restrictions as those established by the criminal executive legislation for persons serving punishment in the form of deprivation of freedom;
  • persons sentenced to arrest have the right to: 1) address proposals, statements and complaints to state authorities, community organizations, and officials. The convicts' correspondence is sent according to the requirements of the Internal Regulations of the penitentiary institutions. Correspondence addressed by the convicts to the Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the European Court of Human Rights, and other appropriate bodies of international organizations where Ukraine is a member or a participant, authorized persons of such international organizations, the prosecutors or the defender in the case executing his authority under Article 44 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, is not subject to examination, and is sent to the appropriate address within one day of being submitted. Correspondence received by convicts from the above authorities and persons is not subject to examination; 2) spend up to 70% of the minimum wage, or up to 100% of the minimum wage for category I disabled convicts, on food and essential products per month. If the permitted amount is not spent during the month, convicts can use the unspent amount to buy food and essential products in subsequent months; 3) receive money transfers; 4) receive and send any number of letters and telegrams;
  • convicts have the right to spend up to 70% of the minimum wage per month to buy food products, literature, stationery, and essential products;
  • persons sentenced to arrest are allowed a daily walk of one hour, or two hours for minors.

According to the new version of Article 59, part 2 of the Code, persons sentenced to custodial restraint have the right to:
  • wear civilian clothing, possess portable personal computers and accessories to them, money, mobile phones and accessories to them, valuables; and to use money without restriction;
  • send letters, receive packages (parcels) and packets, receive short-term visitors without limitation, and long-term visitors (up to three days) once per month;
  • use mobile communication facilities;
  • receive legal aid provided by the Code for persons sentenced to custodial restraint.

Article 63 of the Code is supplemented with a new part, according to which persons sentenced to custodial restraint who receive inpatient care in medical institutions are guaranteed legal aid and the use of mobile communication according to the provisions of normative legal acts and the Code.

Amendments to Article 73 of the Code clarify the procedure of visits and telephone communication for convicted military servicemen.

The Law supplements Article 84, part 4 of the Code with a new provision, according to which convicted military servicemen receiving inpatient care are guaranteed legal aid and telephone communication according to the provisions of the Code.

Transportation of convicts under guard is carried out with regard to the assignment rules: men separately from women; minors separately from persons of age; persons under investigation brought to criminal liability in the scope of the same criminal proceeding, separately from each other; convicts previously working for courts, prosecutor bodies, or law enforcement and justice authorities, separately from other categories; persons sentenced to life in prison, separately from other categories. Persons with an active form of pulmonary tuberculosis and mentally ill persons, separately from each other and from healthy persons, and, if deemed necessary by the physician, accompanied by medical personnel (amendments to Article 88, part 2 of the Code).

According to the new version of Article 93, part 1 of the Code, a person sentenced to deprivation of freedom serves their entire sentence in one correctional or juvenile correctional facility, usually located within the same administrative territorial unit as their place of residence before sentencing, or as the place of permanent residence of the convict's relatives.

The new version of Article 100 of the Code establishes the following:
  • depending on the convict's behavior and attitude to labor (if available) and education, the conditions of serving the sentence are changed within the same penitentiary facility or via transfer to a penitentiary facility of another type;
  • the change of conditions within the same penitentiary facility is done by resolution of the head of the facility, petitioned by the head of the social and psychological service department. If such resolution envisages transferring the convict into stricter conditions or increases the scope of right restrictions, it must be approved by the supervisory commission;
  • the chance of a convict's conditions via transfer to a correctional facility of another security level is carried out by the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence serving, by proposal of the correctional facility administration approved by the head of the administration (department) of the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence servicing in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the region, or the city of Kyiv or Sevastopol. If such proposal envisages transferring the convict into stricter conditions or increases the scope of right restrictions, it must be approved by the supervisory commission.

The list and number of items and articles that convicts can possess are determined by the normative legal acts of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. Convicts are not allowed to possess items and articles that are prohibited for use in penitentiary facilities. Any items and articles prohibited for use in penitentiary facilities, if found in the possession of convicts, are confiscated; such confiscation is recorded in a protocol prepared by an official of the penitentiary facility. By petition of the penitentiary facility, the investigative judge reviews the matter of confiscating such items and articles or transferring them into storage until the convict's release, according to the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine. Storage of money and securities is provided for by the penitentiary facility administration (new version of Article 102, part 7 of the Code).

Amendments to Article 106, part 5 of the Code provide that each incident of use of weapons is recorded in a reported and immediately communicated to the prosecutor and the Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The Law amends Article 107 of the Code, according to which convicts serving sentences of deprivation of freedom have the rights to the following, according to the procedure established by the Code and normative legal acts of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine:
  • receive medical aid and treatment, including paid medical services, at the expense of their own funds or the funds of their family and friends, in health care institutions licensed by the Ministry of Health Care of Ukraine and not included in the management sphere of the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence execution;
  • maintain correspondence with persons located outside penitentiary facilities, communicate with them on the telephone, including in mobile networks, and use the Internet.

A convict is allowed to possess no more than 10 books, while the number of newspapers and magazines is not limited (new version of Article 109, part 3 of the Code).

Amendments to Article 110 of the Code provide for the following:
  • the convict is granted the possibility to communicate with an attorney or another specialist in the legal field in a room without a protective glass separator, at their consent. The possibility to receive legal aid is also granted to convicts receiving inpatient care in medical facilities. Safe-keeping of convicts in such cases is carried out by the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence serving, at the location of the medical facility;
  • the number and types of visits are established as follows: 1) convicts in the increased control department are granted one short-term visit per month and one long-term visit per three months; 2) convicts in the resocialization department are granted one short-term visit per month and one long-term visit per two months; 3) convicts in the social adaptation and social rehabilitation department are granted unlimited short-term visits and one long-term visit per month;
  • convicts, including those in inpatient care in medical facilities, are granted the right to telephone communication (including in mobile networks) without restriction, under the administration's control, and the right to use the Internet. The cost of telephone communication is covered from the convict's personal funds. Telephone communication between convicts in penitentiary facilities is not allowed. The costs of telephone communication and using the Internet are covered from the convict's personal funds;
  • the procedure for organizing visits and telephone conversations is determined by normative legal acts of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

The number of packages (parcels) and packets received by persons sentenced to arrest and deprivation of freedom is not limited (new version of Article 112, part 1 of the Code).

The Law supplements Article 113, part 5 of the Code with a new provision, according to which a convict has the right to give correspondence to their defender in the criminal proceeding exercising their authority according to the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, in person, during the meeting with such defender.

The Law excluded part 2 of Article 114 of the Code, according to which money found in packages (parcels), packets and letters addressed to the convict are seized and realized according to the procedure established by Article 59, part 5 of the Code.

New versions of Article 116, parts 3 and 5 of the Code establish the following:
  • forced feeding of a convict who declared their refusal to eat, has no mental disorders according to the conclusion of the medical commission, and understands the consequences of their actions, is forbidden. Forced feeding can only be carried out in cases when, in the physician's opinion, the convict's condition is severely deteriorating as a result of their refusal to eat. The procedure for forced feeding must not violate the standards determined by the practice of the European Court of Human Rights;
  • the convict has the right to receive consultation and treatment from health care institutions that are licensed by the Ministry of Health Care of Ukraine, provide paid medical services, and are not included in the sphere of management of the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence serving. The costs of such services and necessary medications are covered by the convict or their family and friends, from their own funds. In such cases, consultation and outpatient treatment are carried out in medical units of the penitentiary facility where the convict is serving their sentence, under supervision of the medical unit personnel. If inpatient care is necessary, the convict has the right to receive medical aid and treatment, including paid medical services at the cost of their own funds or the funds of their family and friends, in the mentioned health care institutions. The basis for providing such medical aid is the agreement on medical service provision concluded between the health care institution and the convict's family member, friend, defender or legal representative. The regime for inpatient care of convicts in medical facilities not included in the management sphere of the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of criminal sentence serving is determined by the legislation.

Persons convicted to deprivation of freedom have the right to work in places and jobs determined by the administration of the penitentiary facility. Convicts are involved in socially beneficial labor, with consideration of the existing production capacities, and with regard to the convicts' sex, age, labor capacity, state of health, and professional specialty. Convicts are involved in paid labor, usually in companies, workshops of penitentiary facilities, and in companies of state or other ownership, provided that appropriate security and isolation is ensured. The labor of convicts is regulated by the Code of Labor Laws of Ukraine (amendments to Article 118, part 1 of the Code).

The Law amends Article 121 of the Code, providing for the following:
  • persons serving sentences in correctional facilities pay for social and welfare services, and other services provided to them, from their accrued pay, pensions, and other income;
  • compensation of services determined in part 1 of this Article by the convicts is paid after deduction of income tax and child support. Deductions under property execution warrants and other execution documents are carried out according to the procedure established by law.

The Law presents a new version of Article 122 of the Code, which regulates pension benefits of persons sentenced to deprivation of freedom.

During the stay in isolation ward, disciplinary cell or ward-type room (solitary confinement), convicts are denied visits (except from attorneys or other specialists in the legal field who, by law, have the right to provide legal aid, in person or on behalf of a legal entity) and forbidden to purchase food and essential products, receive packages (parcels) and packets, or playing board games (amended Article 134, part 11 of the Code).

According to the new version of Article 138, part 2 of the Code, convicts kept in the resocialization department of the correctional facility who demonstrate good behavior and attitude to labor, and have served at least one third of their sentence, have the right for improvement of living conditions and to spend an additional 50% of minimum wage per month.

Convicts kept in the resocialization department of the correctional facility who demonstrate good behavior and attitude to labor, and have served at least one half of their sentence, have the right for improvement of living conditions and to spend an additional 40% of minimum wage per month (new version of Article 139, part 2 of the Code).

The new version of Article 140, part 3 of the Code establishes that convicts kept in the resocialization department of the correctional facility who demonstrate good behavior and attitude to labor, and have served at least one half of their sentence, have the right for improvement of living conditions and to spend an additional 30% of minimum wage per month.

Amendments to Article 142 of the Code clarify some specifics of residence of women sentenced to deprivation of freedom outside the correctional facility.

In juvenile correctional facilities, convicts also have the right to receive secondary education free of charge (amended Article 143 of the Code).

According to amended Article 145 of the Code, underage convicts can be punished for violating the established order and the sentence serving conditions by being placed in the isolation ward for a term of up to 5 days, with or without attending education or work.

Article 151 of the Code is amended as follows:
  • consultation points are created in correctional facilities for convicts without general secondary education;
  • persons convicted to life in prison, in particular, have the right to one short-term visit per month, and one long-term visit once per three months, to meet members of their immediate family (spouse, parents, children, foster parents, foster children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren). Long-term visits can also be granted for couples who lived together but were not married, provided that they have common underage children;
  • convicts demonstrating good behavior and attitude to work, after serving 5 years of their sentence, may be allowed to additionally spend 20% of minimum wage per month; after serving 15 years of their sentence, to take part in group educational, cultural and sporting events.

According to the new version of Article 153, part 3 of the Code, a person being released must be given full payment settlement, returned personal documents, valuables and possessions, issued the money stored in their personal account (the money can also be transferred to an account opened by the convict or for them), and issued a certificate of established form, specifying the grounds for release. A certificate is issued at the request of the person being released.

Amendments to Article 154 of the Code specify the procedure for early release from serving punishment.

No later than three months before the end of the sentence, the administration of the penitentiary facility provides the territorial bodies of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and public employment centers with information related to organizing the employment and accommodation of the convict at their selected place of residence (new version of Article 156, part 1 of the Code).

The Law also excludes Articles 160 - 162 from the Code, which provide for:
  • community supervision of persons released on parole;
  • procedure for community supervision of persons released on parole;
  • measures for community influence on persons released on parole.
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