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a person who commits a crime after having been previously convicted of a criminal act. In view of their great social danger, recidivists bear increased criminal responsibility. Under Soviet law, if a person is deemed a recidivist, he faces various legal consequences. A recidivist may not be released on surety (poruki) and for certain types of recidivists limitations have been placed on the application of conditional early release and the substitution of a milder sentence (for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, arts. 53–531)• If a recidivist has been previously sentenced to deprivation of freedom, he will ordinarily serve his sentence for the new crime in a strict-regime colony (this does not apply to convicted women).
Under certain conditions, the court may deem a guilty person an especially dangerous recidivist. Examples include (1) a person previously sentenced to deprivation of freedom for a particularly dangerous crime against the state or for one of the other grave crimes enumerated in the law who again commits one of these crimes and is sentenced to deprivation of freedom for at least five years and (2) a person sentenced to deprivation of freedom twice before, in any sequence, for especially dangerous state crimes or other grave crimes (also enumerated) who again commits any of these crimes and is sentenced to deprivation of freedom for a period of more than three years.
When considering the question of whether a person should be deemed an especially dangerous recidivist, the court takes into account the degree of social danger of the crimes committed, the motives, the character of the guilty person, and the circumstances of the case. In view of the increased social danger of especially dangerous recidivists, the criminal code prescribes harsher punishment for such recidivists than for persons who have committed a crime for the first time. Conditional early release and the substitution of a milder sentence may not be applied to an especially dangerous recidivist.