According to statistics from the Federal Penal Service of Russia annually 80–85% of
convicts arriving at institutions of the penal system have chronic diseases. The number of
people infected with HIV in prisons and colonies is growing every year. Correctional and
educational work with this category of convicts has its own characteristics and requires
the adoption of additional organizational and other measures to overcome their personal
deformations, the formation of law-abiding behavior and social adaptation in terms of
imprisonment. At the same time special attention is paid to existential values in connection
with the loss by many convicts the meaning of life, the prospects of release from places
Within the framework of the existential approach the correctional process appears as
a flexible, variable system, where the actual differentiation of upbringing influences takes
place. Also the content of the correctional process is purposefully shaped and enriched
with moral values, meanings, traditions for the purpose of personal self-realization
and self-esteem, helps the convicted person to understand the semantic sphere of his
behavior and actions, to cope with negative emotional states, to develop a meaningful
In order to study the existential sphere of HIV-infected convicts a study was conducted
on the basis of the PKU SIZO-10 of the Federal Penal Service of Russia in the Moscow
region, in which 30 HIV-infected men aged from 20 to 45 took part. A specially developed
technique and questionnaire “Events of my life” of G.S. Nikiforova was offered for
As a result of this study data were obtained indicating that the general condition of
convicts with HIV infection and the social environment in which it is located have a
significant impact on the presence and awareness of the meaning of life. These convicts
do not see positive prospects in the future. The values associated with communicating
with loved ones, family, understanding and compassion for them in the current situation
come for them to the fore. Convicts with HIV infection are characterized by a low level of
general meaningfulness of the future life and the past, which is expressed in the absence
of goals and temporal perspectives, dissatisfaction with self-realization, a low level of selfcontrol and controllability.
The article makes a number of recommendations for penal psychologists to work with
this category of persons. Further individual in-depth analysis of the data obtained may
become a promising study on the relationship of HIV-infected convicts to their own lives.
Keywords: places of detention; convicts; HIV-infected convicts; existential values; personal meaning; human value system; activities of the penal psychologist
Professor of the Department of Legal Psychology and
Pedagogics of the Vologda Institute of Law and Economics of the Federal Penal
Service of Russia, Dsc. in Pedagogics, Associate Professor; Member of the
International Academy of Pedagogical Education
, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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