Contributor(s)Pavel Sapelko / Human Rights Centre Viasna / Prison Insider

The penitentiary system

The penitentiary system is composed of:

  • Three high security prisons
  • Fifteen closed penal institutions for convicted adults
  • Three open penal institutions for convicted adults, one of them for women
  • Six pre-trial detention centers. The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (KGB) administers one of them.
  • Nine Labour Treatment Profilactoriums (LTP)
  • One closed penal institution for minors
  • Two prisons for women : one closed penal institution and one open institution
  • Twenty nine short-term arrest facilities

Two penal institutions –number 10 and 19— were closed in 2014, throught a presidential decree. That year, medical services and workshops were implemented in some institutions.

One of the pre-trial detention centers, called Amérikanka, is located in Minsk. This district is under the authority of a special police, the State Security Committee, called KGB (for the name in English). Those convicted of actions against the interests of the state, drug dealing, arms trafficking and embezzlement are held in the KGB center. The level of isolation and control of detainees is higher in the KGB district. There are several interrogation rooms and a punishment cell.

Number of available places for prisoners


/ World Prison Brief

The Department for the Execution of Punishment is responsible for the execution of criminal sentences. This organ is attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Prison staff is composed of national security officers, managed by the Ministry of internal affairs.

Before being hired, they must undergo an examination, which includes a psychological diagnosis, with the specialists of the military medical commission under the Ministry of the Interior. They are provided with a professional identity card. They are not required to wear an identification badge. Officers in pre-trial detention and isolation wards regularly attend education courses.

Supervisors often wrongly accuse inmates to punish them. Prisoners file complaints and testify about the violence inflicted by the supervisors. Most of these complaints do not reach the authorities or are dropped. Eleven officers were sentenced for violence against detainees in 2012, 19 in 2013 and 25 in 2014.

Guards-inmates ratio


Social workers-inmates ratio