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a person deprived of liberty and kept in prison or some other form of custody as a punishment for a crime, while awaiting trial, or for some other reason
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Russian, zakliuchennyi), a person arrested by way of a measure of restraint. In the USSR the legal status of the prisoner is defined by the Statute on Preliminary Confinement Under Guard (July 11, 1969), according to which persons in custody in places of preliminary confinement have obligations and rights established by the legislation enacted for citizens of the USSR, with restrictions arising from the regimen of custody.

Prisoners have the right to receive, in accordance with established procedure, packages, parcels, and money orders; they may also purchase food and other necessities by means of cashless transactions, have in their possession documents and notes pertinent to their case, and use books from the prison library. Female prisoners have the right to have with them children up to two years of age. Visits of relatives and other persons are granted, as a rule, once a month with the permission of the official or agency in charge of the proceedings of the given case. The same procedure governs correspondence with relatives and other citizens. Meetings with lawyers are granted without restrictions and for any length of time. Prisoners may be recruited for work only with their consent and with the permission of agencies of inquiry, the procurator, or the court, and they may work only at the place of preliminary confinement. The conditions of prisoners’ work and the payment for their work are determined by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Sometimes the term “prisoner” applies to all persons in confinement, including those serving sentences upon conviction by a court; from the legal point of view, these persons are called convicts.

I. V. SHMAROV [9–90CM]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Would the prisoner, in the hottest week of a hot summer, be likely to go to a drawer containing winter underclothing.
"In that case, is it not possible that the articles in question might have been put there by a third person, and that the prisoner was quite unaware of their presence?"
"Every prisoner has committed some crime for which he has been imprisoned.
"You asked me the same question the first time you saw me," returned the prisoner.
The little Munchkin boy was so busy thinking these things--which many guilty prisoners have thought before him--that he scarcely noticed all the splendor of the city streets through which they passed.
"I had an idea," said he, "that prisoners were always treated harshly, to punish them."
The grave-looking yeomen who composed this tribunal laid their heads together for a few minutes, without leaving the box, when the foreman arose, and, after the forms of the court were duly observed, he pronounced the prisoner to be “Not guilty.”
It accused the prisoner of resisting the execution of a search-warrant, by force of arms, and particularized in the vague language of the law, among a variety of other weapons, the use of the rifle.
But, the gaol was a vile place, in which most kinds of debauchery and villainy were practised, and where dire diseases were bred, that came into court with the prisoners, and sometimes rushed straight from the dock at my Lord Chief Justice himself, and pulled him off the bench.
He remained silent, his eyes fixed upon the light; the boat went on, but the prisoner thought only of Mercedes.
"Huck Finn, did you EVER hear of a prisoner having picks and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in his wardrobe to dig himself out with?
Here is the prisoner; let us attend to what is most pressing."