Inside: Russia's Toughest Prisons
National Geographic Channel
For the first time, three prisons across Russia unlock their doors to an international film crew. Go inside a top security facility where cannibals, terrorists and killers live out the rest of their days, to Russia’s oldest prison, to a Siberian prison camp where temperatures linger at 50 below. Inside Black Dolphin prison, a cannibal reveals his crime, divulging how he boiled, fried and ate his victim. In infamous Vladimir Central, a convict opens up about killing his brother-in-law for disturbing his daughter’s peaceful night’s sleep. Inside Siberian Prison Camp 17, two friends are about to go their separate ways.
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. It is operated by the Federal Penitentiary Service. It is reputedly one of Russia’s toughest prisons.
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. 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”. Prisoners at Black Dolphin are imprisoned for life. 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.
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. 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 immates, 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.
Here’s what life is like inside Russia’s toughest prison
by Pamela Engel
Russian prisons are notoriously tough, but there’s one that’s even harder than the rest.
Called Black Dolphin, this high-security prison on the Kazakhstan border houses the country’s most brutal criminals, including serial killers, cannibals, and terrorists, according to a documentary by National Geographic.
One prison lieutenant told National Geographic that the only way to escape is by dying.
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