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EXCLUSIVE: US and British prisoners 'to serve sentences in Siberian jails'

By The Siberian Times reporter
01 April 2013

Western countries will send some of their most hardened criminals to serve sentences in special prisons in deepest Siberia.

The scheme will earn the $55,000 a year for each convict it accepts, revealed a local prison official. Picture: krasuis.ru

Britain and the US are among the countries planning this radical measure, along with France and Spain, say leaked 'secret' diplomatic documents found on a plane. Tough Russian prison officials will be recruited on improved salaries and placed in charge of the convicts, under a plan which has been pioneered already by Germany. 

The scheme will earn the $55,000 a year for each convict it accepts, revealed a local prison official. 

Foreign inmates convicted of sentences of more than four years will face harsh treatment and 'iron discipline' at labour camp prisons in temperatures sinking to minus 50C, described as 'a shocking prospect for non-Russians'  by one jail commandant.

'Our criminals cope with it but this will be alien to these convicts used to comfortable Western prisons', he said.

Westerners to go to jails in Siberia

Igor Tolkunov, a prison union official in Yakutia, said: 'It looks like Westerners don't know how to run a properly disciplined prison any more and need our help'.  Picture: The Siberian Times 

'My Arctic jail had hardly any security but no-one has ever escaped because wild bears and packs of wolves roam the forests and it's 1,413km to the nearest railway station. The inmates will exercise for an hour a day under open skies, unless temperatures sink lower than minus 56C. 

'They will wash once a week in ice pools in the prison lake before warming up in our banya.'

He warned: 'This is how it is in winter, but in summer it gets unbearably hot. I promise you: they will never commit crimes again after they experience our treatment'.

Some jails could be converted Siberian Gulags from the Stalin era, according to officials.

'Our jails are  too soft with prisoners treated like hotel guests', a British official told his Russian counterparts on a recent 'fact finding mission' to three Siberian regions by apparatchiks from the country's Interior Ministry, known as the Home Office.

'Our Ministers want a tougher approach even though we can't admit this in public'.

Westerners to go to jails in Siberia

A delegation involving US diplomats and Washington officials has already identified a remote site where American prisoners will be sent. 'They will qualify for a 33% cut in their custodial time if they agree to serve their sentence in Siberia rather than a US penetentiary,' said an envoy.  Pictured: Russian Polar Owl life sentence jail, by Oleg Paschuk 

A delegation involving US diplomats and Washington officials has already identified a remote site where American prisoners will be sent. 'They will qualify for a 33% cut in their custodial time if they agree to serve their sentence in Siberia rather than a US penetentiary,' said an envoy. 

'The plan is backed by the White House. A German experiment with young offenders showed this scheme can work.'

In the UK, prisoners will be flown out to Moscow on charter planes accompanied by British jailers before being transferred under armed guard into 'cells-on-wheels' on the Trans-Siberian Railway and transported eastwards like prisoners in Stalin times. 

It could take them five days and nights to reach their labour camps. 

A diplomatic document accidentally left on a plane - found by a Russian journalist in Chita - said: 'Prisoners will have to sign written agreements to take part in the scheme to avoid it transgressing Human Rights legislation and other EU regulations. 

'UK prison officials will be paid double salaries to accompany the inmates to their jails and they will be given accommodation on site without charge.'

Westerners to go to jails in Siberia

In the UK, prisoners will be flown out to Moscow on charter planes accompanied by British jailers before being transferred under armed guard into 'cells-on-wheels' on the Trans-Siberian Railway and transported eastwards like prisoners in Stalin times

Secret plans envisage a cut in their jail 'tariff' of up to 50% for  inmates agreeing to serve their sentences in Siberia. 

'Equal rights legislation means that the plan can only proceed if a site for a woman's jail as well as a male prison can be found. We are actively searching for this now on the orders of the Home Secretary. One possible site has been located at Aprelfulovskaya, five time zones east of Moscow.

'A problem is the Russian side do not understand that EU regulations mean each prisoner must be allowed to watch six and a half hours live TV a day in their mother tongue, including live Premier League football. We are seeking to overcome this.

'We envisage offering two flights a year for conjugal visits by prisoners' partners plus weekly phone calls. Prisoners will work no more than six hours a day in keeping with EU protocols'.

Igor Tolkunov, a prison union official in Yakutia, said: 'It looks like Westerners don't know how to run a properly disciplined prison any more and need our help'.

A German experiment sent unruly teenagers to a remote village called Sidelnikovo near Omsk where they have to build wooden outside toilets, walk miles through the snow to education classes, fetch logs for the fire and haul water from a well. 

'I've spent eight months here and I reckon this has worked for me,' said juvenile offender Florian, 16, who took part in the experiment.  

Westerners to go to jails in Siberia

'I've spent eight months here and I reckon this has worked for me', said juvenile offender Florian, 16. Picture: The Siberian Times

'I'm a better person now. I want to get back home and start a new life. I'll be different when I get back. I know for certain I will.'

He revealed: 'The first thing I had to do was build a wooden toilet by myself. I had to dig the hole in the ground.'

He is one of dozens of German teenagers who have been though the Siberian treatment.

'If it works for German teens, why not for US adults,' said an American official. 'I expect the scheme to be in place by the start of April 2014.'

A UK government spokesman said: 'The plan is at an early stage. We cannot comment on it.'

The French and Spanish embassies refused to comment. 

*** 

Yes this was our April Fool story.  The West loves to see Siberia only as a place of jails, when nowadays it probably has fewer than most European countries - so we wanted to parody this.

Thanks for your messages on the story.

The Siberian Times 

Comments (11)

It is a great idea... I wrote my Senator a few years ago recommending this. It would make the criminals think twice about doing the crime and save the taxpayer money.. No conjugal visits, no TV, no weight lifting. keep them busy with work and scrubbing the place and shoveling snow... They would not be in such a hurry to hurt someone or rob a store. Also no reduced time behind bars. A good place for the Southern Thieves who need a taste of what other people have to go through,it will keep them from being bored...
Starbuck777, Wilmington, OH
21/08/2013 21:22
1
2
If only it were true! We spend far more on prisoners than pensioners in the UK, consequently our re-offending rate is akin to having spent time at a cosy university. Please, sell us an effective prison service.
Cam, Yorkshire
05/04/2013 12:52
2
0
Either the Siberian Times is spoofing its readers or some journalist is spoofing the Times. This is like something found in the US Satirical Magazine, The Daily Onion. It may feed the average Siberian's imagination about Western penal systems but it is so out-of-touch with reality it's funny. This piece fell out of a time warp. If the Times was spoofed I'd like to shake the hands of the guy that sold the piece to them.
Jack Back, San Francisco, California, USA
04/04/2013 06:44
1
6
Ouch! I really got sucked in didn't I!!!! Shame on me.

My 'love affair' with Siberia still burns within me and I'm so happy this was truly an April Fools joke.

Congratulations and all of the best of God's richest blessings for you all in Siberia.

Valentyna, Perth, Scotland
03/04/2013 12:30
11
0
kudos to whoever wrote the final line of this article. GENIUS
Mao Oliver-Semenov, Krasnoyarsk
01/04/2013 21:47
10
0
about time we mete out real punishment for our thugs and rapists and murderers .... but why would Siberia want them? It's too cruel on Russian people to inflict our scum on them. they probably got enough problems themselves, anyways its a national disgrace we can't punish our criminals properly in Britain thats the real scandal
Bill, Bexhill
01/04/2013 15:38
7
0
Nice one for April Fools' Day! But interesting how the old attitudes and prejudices are still there just beneath the surface.
Martin, Wales
01/04/2013 15:13
4
0
News in honor of the 1st of April. Class!
Alex, Altai
01/04/2013 15:05
7
0
Alexandra : I totally agree with you. It is painful to read and I was so happy to read of all the news in Siberia, why pollute it with the evil from the west and other lands. Why does the US have to stick its nose into other nations' affairs and mess up their culture as they have done in the past and are still doing so.

Something must be done about it. Surely President Putin can put a stop to this Americanisation of other lands. Even though I do not come from Siberia, my maternal and paternal families still reside in Ukraine and I have always had a fondness for Siberia.
Valentyna, Perth, Scotland
01/04/2013 14:28
7
0
Its embarrassing. Bad news for Siberians! We shouldn't let it happen!!!
Anna, Novosibirsk
01/04/2013 14:24
8
1
Siberia again becomes the place of exile! How long can we stand it! Don't we have enough our own criminals to get more foreign... We just want to live here safe and calm
Alexandra, Tyumen
01/04/2013 02:07
10
0
1

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