Brittney Griner is ‘not convinced she will return to the US’ as she spends 23 hours a day in cell


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rittney Griner doubts whether or not she will ever be allowed to return home to the US as the 6-foot-9 WNBA star spends the vast majority of her days inside of tiny cell with two other prisoners. 

U.S. citizen Griner, 31, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist, was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Aug. 4 after pleading guilty to drug charges.

She insisted she inadvertently broke the law when she traveled with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. Griner is scheduled to appeal her sentence on October 25. 

Now her lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov said in an interview with the New York Times that his client is struggling in prison.

Her cellmates at Correctional Colony No.1 or IK-1, a pre-trial detention center, are both English speakers who are also in jail on drug charges. Prison rules dictate that inmates are only allowed to shower twice a week. It is located around an hour from Moscow.

The building is a former children’s orphanage that was converted into a prison around 2012. There are 1,248 prisoners in the facility. It features a sewing factory that employees more than 400 inmates and a Russian Orthodox church. 

In the prison courtyard, where Griner is afforded her only chance to get fresh air once a day, there is a statue of Vladimir Lenin, one of the founders of the Soviet Union. 

In July, the Times referred to the prison as having ‘gray painted halls and grim tall walls.’ 

Russia’s penal institutions house nearly 520,000 inmates, by far the largest number in Europe. A little under 50,000 of these prisoners are women. 



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