Hike sentence

‘Inhumane’ conditions in former Soviet prison where average sentence is 30 years

The ‘inhumane’ conditions of a forgotten prison in Eastern Europe have been brought to light in a new documentary – and even if you think you may not survive one day, some of the inmates have been locked within its four walls for centuries. decades.

With one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe, many of Moldova’s “lifers” – life-sentenced prisoners – are sent to this former Soviet facility.

As explored by host Raphael Rowe in the final season of his Netflix docu-series In the harshest prisons in the worldthe interior of the building appears not to have been updated since well before the end of this era.

Rezina prison in the Republic of Moldova is one of the harshest prisons in the world. Credit: Netflix

But perhaps most shocking of all is the treatment of prisoners who choose to live outside gang rules.

He soon discovers that they had chosen not to join a gang inside and instead educate themselves and do their best to build a house in their tiny cell.

But since the guards cannot guarantee their protection, the small group of people who live like this are forced to stay locked up 22 hours a day.

Raphael Rowe spoke to Maxim, who has been locked up since 2005. Credit: Netflix
Raphael Rowe spoke to Maxim, who has been locked up since 2005. Credit: Netflix

When they finally manage to spend a brief afternoon outdoors, their only comfort is an old, crumbling hallway that they roam until their two hours are up.

Raphaël joins them in their daily exercise, explaining to the camera: “I counted… we can take 32 steps, that’s what I do every time I go up and down here.

“So the next time you walk out your front door, take 32 steps and that’s what these guys have been doing for years and years and years.”

The only exercise they get is two hours a day to walk down a small hallway.  Credit: Netflix
The only exercise they get is two hours a day to walk down a small hallway. Credit: Netflix

Unfortunately, their group is outnumbered, as gang members who have tremendous control and influence over the institute are able to play sports such as soccer for their daily exercise.

“To deprive you of seeing the sky and touching the grass is cruel and inhumane,” Raphaël said after discovering that another of the inmates had been in Rezina for 27 years.

The host described it as
The host described it as “inhuman”. Credit: Netflix

The documentary also explores how the Moldovan justice system cracks down on offenders, with many inmates committing crimes that would have received much more lenient sentences had they been committed elsewhere.

Maxim, who has been in Rezina for 16 years so far, was involved in an armed robbery in which a policeman was shot dead.

Although he claims not to have fired the weapon, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Maxim is one of many inmates who have been sentenced to life.  Credit: Netflix
Maxim is one of many inmates who have been sentenced to life. Credit: Netflix

As explored in the episode, while some might find the conditions far too harsh for the crimes committed, the victims’ families may think it’s an appropriate punishment.

In addition to Rezina, a number of other high security penitentiaries around the world are being reviewed in the final season of In the harshest prisons in the world, which you can watch on Netflix now.