Washington International Law Journal


Russia currently incarcerates women in conditions that amount to human rights violations. Women incarcerated in Russia’s prisons experience not only oppression and abuse common to all those incarcerated in Russia, but also gender-specific harms. While Russia has signed on to many pivotal human rights treaties, it also has a long history of mass incarceration of its people. Today, the prison conditions for women in Russia reveal a need for reform. Reformers are challenged by a powerful State that has not prioritized the type of reform necessary to eliminate further harms done to incarcerated women. To ensure the rights of women guaranteed under Russian and international law, Russia must implement gender-specific prison reform. This reform must incorporate gender-specific language into Russia’s penal code. International human rights laws and organizations can provide incarcerated women and their advocates with important tools. These tools could be used to encourage Russia to implement necessary gender-specific prison reform. This would be a positive step toward gender equality for women incarcerated in Russia’s prison system.

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