Brittney Griner’s jail conditions should really to the urgency of getting her home sooner rather than later. If the US doesn’t bring her back, the basketball star’s nine-year prison sentence in Russia will likely be brutal.
More details about life in these prisons have emerged, and it will absolutely break your heart about what Griner may go through.
In his latest column, Dave Zirin of The Nation detailed just how awful the conditions are at IK-2, which include being infamous for being racist and homophobic. Additionally, this penal colony is known for making prisoners work at least 16 hours a day. Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot said prisoners who don’t meet the penal colony’s work quota are subject to “beatings and torture.”
From the story:
“The Mordovia prisons are infamous, with locals expressing shock that someone of Griner’s international fame would be held there. The penal colony is notoriously racist and homophobic, which makes Griner’s fate anyone’s guess.
More details about life in these prisons have emerged, and they are chilling. Nadya Tolokonnikova of the band/social action collective Pussy Riot spent two years in Mordovia, and she told MSNBC that it is a labor camp where prisoners are expected to work 16 hours a day. “Beatings and torture” are common, she said. Medical care hardly exists. And, in an awful twist, their jobs are to sew police army and guard uniforms, literally darning the clothes of their jailers. International observers have no idea about Griner’s particular conditions, or even if her bed can fit her six-foot-eight-inch frame.”
The prisoners also get subjected to injury due to working with outdated equipment. When the prisoners are not working in the sweatshops, they are subjected to heavy physical labor, which include digging trenches, breaking up frozen coal, and manually sawing giant logs. If a prisoner dares to refuse to work, they are sent to confinement, which is in a freezing cold tiny cell.
The living conditions include prisoners sharing barracks with 100 other inmates. There are also only 3-5 toilets for everyone. Showers and hot water is available once a week.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has previously stated she’s worried about Brittney’s well-being.
“I’ve spent the last eight months riding waves of grief and, to be honest, just total disbelief,” she said. “I can’t believe that I’m standing in front of you guys today, living without my favorite person, my greatest love, biggest support, and just sanctuary. Language truly fails to capture the excruciating pain that stems from having a loved one held hostage.”
We can only hope that a prisoner swap can free Griner soon.