Prisons in Russia

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Prisons in Russia can be categorized under four types of facilities:[1]

  • pre-trial institutions;
  • educative or juvenile labor colonies;
  • corrective labor colonies; and
  • prisons.

The corrective colony is the most common, with 760 institutions in 2004 across the administrative divisions of Russia.[1] There were also 8 prisons, 62 juvenile facilities, and 192 pre-trial facilities in 2004.[clarification needed][2]

Prisons in Russia are administered by the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN).

Corrective labor colonies[edit]

Corrective colony regimes are categorized as very strict / special, strict, general, and open.[1] The detachment (отря́д or otryad) is the basic unit of the prison.[3] When not in the detachment, prisoners are required to participate in penal labour, which is in the form of work brigades in colony production zones where prisoners earn a wage of which most is paid to the colony for their upkeep.[3]


The Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote a public letter of Russian prisons in 2013 receiving international attention on the Russian prison conditions. According to Ilya Shablinsky, a member of the presidential human-rights council who audited her prison, conditions where close to those of a "slave labour". Auditors found women prisons working 14 hours a day and one day off a month. In 2013 Russia had the world tenth-highest share of prisons of population. In 2010 Dimitri Medvedev brought down the prison population by 17.5 %. Prisons were divided still in 2013 as the "red" run by prison authorities and the "black" administered by inmates. According to the Economist (2013) change would demand a deeper reform of the police and the courts.[4]

List of prisons[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Roth 2006, p. 231.
  2. ^ Roth 2006, p. 232.
  3. ^ a b Pallot, Judith (23 October 2012). "How will the Pussy Riot band members fare in Russia's 'harshest prisons'?". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ Slave labour and criminal culture The Economist October 19th 2013
  5. ^ "Russian women's prison camps: An ex-inmate's account". BBC News. 22 October 2012. 

External references[edit]