Kartser (also SHIZO, or Shtrafny izolyator] were all punishment cells, a form of additional punishment for “infringements of the regime”. Kartser was introduced through a Temporary Instruction of the People’s Commissariat for Justice in 1918.

Prisoners were held locked up, with bunks lowered for 8 hours, without bed linen. They worked in a closed building, and walks, correspondence, parcels and visits were prohibited. Those held in SHIZO without being taken out to work received a hot meal without fat or sugar every two days, and 300 grams of bread and hot water on a daily basis.

The maximum period was 15 days however there were cases where people were immediately put back into SHIZO following release. (cf. O. SHEVCHENKO).