Black Dolphin Prison

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Black Dolphin Prison

Federal Governmental Institution — penal colony № 6 Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in Orenburg region (Russian: ФКУ ИК-6 УФСИН России по Оренбургской области or Федеральное Казённое Учреждение — Исправительная Колония №6 Управления Федеральной Службы Исполнения Наказаний России по Оренбургской области), commonly known as the Black Dolphin Prison (Russian: Чёрный дельфин, Chyorny delʹfin), is a correctional facility in Sol-Iletsk, Orenburg Oblast, Russia.[1] It is operated by the Federal Penitentiary Service. It is reputedly one of Russia's toughest prisons.[citation needed]

This is one of the oldest prisons in Russia and one of the first prisons for life sentences in the Orenburg region. Originally it was a jail (Ostrog) for a lifetime of hard labor. The first mention of this relates to 1745. After the suppression of Pugachev's Rebellion in 1773, the prison was built for the deportation of robbers. The prison got its unofficial name from a fountain with a sculpture depicting a black dolphin, which is set before the main entrance. The sculpture was made by the prisoners themselves.[citation needed] On 1 November 2000, the prison started to hold inmates sentenced to life imprisonment.

It is near the Kazakhstan border. The prison houses approximately 700 of the most serious criminals in Russia. It holds child molestors, murderers, terrorists, cannibals, serial killers and so called "maniacs".[2] Prisoners at Black Dolphin are imprisoned for life.[1] Prison guards place blindfolds on arriving prisoners so that they can not map out the prison or plan escapes. Prisoners are also blindfolded whenever they are transported between buildings. Also unique to Black Dolphin is the form in which guards escort inmates; prisoners are kept bent over at the waist while a guard holds their handcuffed hands behind their back, higher than the inmate's hips. This "stress position" allows for maximum control over the inmate, while depriving the inmates of a view of their immediate surroundings as well as preventing them from escaping and attacking prison staff. While there have been rumors of inmate abuse and misconduct at Black Dolphin Prison, there are no confirmed reports or complaints.[dubious ][3]

Inmates are kept isolated and housed in a cell that has a set of three steel doors. For 90 minutes a day, they are transported to a large cage for exercise. During this time, the cell is searched for contraband or illegal items that inmates are not permitted to have. Prisoners at Black Dolphin are kept under 24-hour supervision; they are not permitted to rest or sit on their bunks from the time they are awoken until it is time to sleep again. Every 15 minutes, a guard makes rounds to check on each cell to ensure inmates are complying with the rules. The prisoners are fed soup four times a day.[2] The prisoners are only allowed books, newspapers and a radio (which is their only link to the outside world). When prison officers make a command to the inmates, they must respond with the words "yes, sir" (Russian: есть, гражданин начальник, tr. yest', grazhdanin nachalnik, literally "Yes, Citizen Chief").

There are 700 inmates and 900 officers of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

Human rights violations[edit]

Black Dolphin Prison, and dozens of other prisons like it in Russia, have been compared to the historical gulag system of the former Soviet Union. Inmates have been known to self-mutilate as a form of protest over the conditions in Black Dolphin Prison. Medical care is sometimes delayed to patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. The prison, and other similar prisons, have been compared to "World War II concentration camps" by one human rights activist.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Структурные подразделения." (Archive) Federal Penitentiary Service Orenburg Region. Retrieved on April 28, 2012. "В исправительной колонии содержатся осужденные к пожизненному лишению свободы."
  2. ^ a b "All Videos: Black Dolphin Prison." National Geographic. Retrieved on April 28, 2012.
  3. ^ Medetsky, Anatoly. "Sentenced to Life on Fire Island." The Moscow Times. 23 December 2004. Retrieved on 28 April 2012. "When new convicts arrive at the Black Dolphin, guards put black bags[...]"
  4. ^ Engel, Pamela (12 November 2013). "The Shocking Details That Weren't Included In NatGeo's Russian Prison Documentary". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°09′20″N 54°59′35″E / 51.15556°N 54.99306°E / 51.15556; 54.99306