MOSCOW, March 13 (RAPSI) – The State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children has supported a bill which would authorize courts to sentence pedophiles to life in prison, and recommended that lawmakers adopt the bill in its first reading, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

At present, pedophiles may be sentenced to life in Russia only if they are repeat offenders, in which case they may also face chemical castration. First-time offenders presently face a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars, even if their actions led to the death of a child.

The bill aims to fix this issue through amendments to Russia’s Criminal Procedure Code, which would set life imprisonment for pedophile convicts without any exceptions or limits, Olga Batalina (United Russia), one of the bill sponsors, told the agency.

The federal law on pedophiles was toughened last time in February 2012, when then-president Dmitry Medvedev signed a law toughening punishments for recidivist pedophiles to a maximum sentence of life in prison and chemical castration. The law also bans probation for offenders who have sexually abused children younger than 14 years old.

Later that year Russia's Supreme Court backed the bill allowing pedophiles to be banished to  colonies following their release from prison. The bill sponsored by Senator Yevgeny Tarlo aims at isolating pedophiles from the society for life.