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Online shops and payments to become available in Russian prisons

February 17, 2014, 18:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The law requires each parcel to be examined and such items as cigarettes or candies to be broken apart to check if they do not contain prohibited items
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service has announced plans to make online trade and payments available in prison colonies.

Oleg Korshunov, head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Economic Department, told ITAR-TASS on Monday, February 17, that the system of online shops is spreading very quickly. “It is fully available in Moscow and St. Petersburg and is gradually expanding to other regions,” he said.

At the same time, he said the parcel service would continue to be available alongside online trade. “We simply suggested that each colony get access to online parcel delivery services. It’s very comfortable,” Korshunov said.

He noted that the law requires each parcel to be examined and such items as cigarettes or candies to be broken apart to check if they do not contain prohibited items. In addition, inmates’ relatives cannot visit colonies often as the number of such visits is limited.

“However, it’s much easier with online parcels. A person goes to a website, selects the items his son, husband or brother needs, pays online and the parcel is delivered the next day after payment, complete and undamaged as it has already been checked and examined,” the official said.

The Federal Penitentiary Service is also testing another online payment system which allows a prison inmate to choose items in a store himself. “Then he uses a special telephone with an inbuilt cash register to make a call to this mother, for example, and if she agrees to pay, he presses the button, and money is deducted from her account, the cash register pints out a receipt, he signs it and takes the items,” Korshunov said.

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