From the Russian Federation. Lives and works in Saint Petersburg.
Boys aged 14 to 18 who have committed various crimes including hooliganism, rape, and murder serve their sentences in the young offender institution in Saint Petersburg. The conditions of detention in such institutions are much better compared to a regular prison in Russia. For many of the boys, who grew up neglected, life in this prison is more comfortable than it was outside. Instead of chaotic street life and a suffocating environment of a dysfunctional family, the prison community offers clearly established rules, protection, and stability. This prison has a well-developed infrastructure including a church, a gym, sports grounds, a library, a kitchen, and a factory. If the boys behave well they are taken out of the prison to various museums. At the same time, for many convicts the habits they adopt in prison create the foundations for entry to the big criminal world since the way of life in the colony gives an idea of a rigidly hierarchised community where each member has his own specially indicated place and function. Another problem in supporting prisoners is that after being released they fall into the old criminal world where it is prestigious to be a criminal. In many ways, this attitude toward crime is formed by mass culture.