Brittney Griner All-Stars Brittney Griner, during the media day at Phoenix Mercury. Uscp 75fs9aqovsk1nhdf77xl Original

After Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison sentence following a drug conviction was upheld last week, the WNBA star will now be sent to a Russian penal colony to serve her sentence since the United States and Russia have been unable to work out her release, despite ongoing negotiations.

The prison where Brittney Griner will serve her sentence is not like the prisons in the United States. It’s much harsher and much more dangerous – especially for somebody like Griner.

Here’s a description of the conditions that Griner will be facing, according to NBC News:

“Conditions in prisons and detention centers varied but were often harsh and life threatening,” a 2021 State Department report on Russian human rights abuses said. “Overcrowding, abuse by guards and inmates, limited access to health care, food shortages, and inadequate sanitation were common in prisons, penal colonies, and other detention facilities.”

The report notes that “physical and sexual abuse by prison guards was systemic,” that torture of prisoners was pervasive — at times resulting in death or suicide — and that discriminatory protections against women and people of color were not often enforced. The law also does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Russian prisons are grim, even relative to prisons in other countries. And the Putin regime has ramped up hostility towards gays and lesbians as part of its broader policy of hard-line nationalism,” said Muriel Atkin, a Russian history professor at George Washington University.

The United States and Russia continue to negotiate a potential prisoner swap that could bring Griner back to the United States. However, Russia has said that Griner’s release is not viewed as a priority by the country. However, the United States is still persistently negotiating.

[NBC News]