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Brittney Griner’s hard times in Russia’s most dreaded prison

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Brittney Griner Prison
Brittney Griner Prison. Photo by Daily Mail
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner is having a hard time in a Russian prison
  • She is serving her time at IK-1 prison, the most dreaded prison facility
  • She only showers twice a week

WNBA star Brittney Griner is having a hard time in Russian prison she was sent to for nine years in August by a Moscow court.

She is serving her time at IK-1, one of the dreaded prisons in Russia with about 1,200 female prisoners. The prison sits 50 miles from the Russian capital of Moscow.

Griner was arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport with vape cartridges carrying hashish oil in her luggage. She says that she was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States to ease pain from longstanding injuries.

Cannabis use, whether for medical or recreational purposes, is prohibited in Russia.

As she hurried to catch her flight to Russia, Griner said she packed her vape cartridges by accident and pled guilty to the charges.

At the time of sentencing on August 4, Judge Anna Sotnikova stated that she determined that Griner knowingly broke the law. The judge also fined Griner one million roubles, which is equivalent $16,700.

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner. Photo/Bloomberg


Now, her attorney, Alexandr D. Boykov, said in a New York Times interview that his client is having difficulties while inside. According to prison regulations, convicts are only permitted to take showers twice a week.

She sleeps in a modified bed to accommodate her height. Speaking to her family, her wife Cherelle is hard because she cannot get her phone rights.

The prison also gets too hot during summer and very cold during winter. It’s part of an intimidating outlook the Prison harbors. Formerly a children’s orphanage, the structure underwent a 2012 conversion to become a prison.

The facility houses 1,248 inmates. It has a Russian Orthodox church and a sewing facility where more than 400 prisoners work.

As part of a system that dates back to the Soviet Gulag era, the majority of prisons in Russia are group colonies where convicts sleep in dormitories with huge production halls where they work during the day.

Nearly 520,000 prisoners are housed in Russian prisons and jails, by far the most in all of Europe. These convicts include slightly fewer than 50,000 women.

Most of these prisons are torture chambers courtesy of Russian President Vladmir Putin.


Boykov further stated that Griner is not hopeful that America will secure her release. She is quite concerned about the cost of that and is scared that she will have to serve the entirety of her sentence.

The Phoenix Mercury player isn’t in a good condition but she keeps herself busy by reading books and playing games with other inmates to pass times.

Her attorney adds that with their appeal set for October 25, there is hope that the verdict will be amended in some way. He maintained that her first sentencing flawed judicial practice.


When asked if he would meet with Putin at the G20 conference in Bali in November, U.S. President Joe Biden responded that he didn’t see a compelling reason for doing so.

He said that it would depend on what particularly Putin wanted to discuss, Biden told CNN. The US premier added that if Putin wanted to talk about the imprisoned American basketball player, he would be amenable to doing so.

Britnney Griner

Brittney Griner is in detention in Russia. Photo/Marca

Kremlin has been mum on whether Putin will even attend the summit. Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to Russia, visited Moscow three weeks ago to aid with the talks and has since expressed his confidence that a deal will soon be struck to return Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan to the US.

Richardson played a role in Marine Trevor Reed’s April release from a Russian prison. In an interview with CNN, he said that although his journey was not on behalf of the United States, he had met with top Russian officials and people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico who has quietly fought to win the release of American captives, said that he is cautiously optimistic on the Griner and Whelan walk to freedom.

Meanwhile, in an interview with CBS Mornings, Cherelle Griner disclosed that she has only spoken to her wife twice since February. One of those phone calls, according to her, was the most upsetting.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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