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Tallinn Prison



Tallinn, Harju County



Type of prison

Maximum-security prison (with cells)


Adult males and females being held in custody; convicted males

Max. no. of inmates


Tallinn Prison is located on the site of a prisoner-of-war camp that operated between 1944 and 1949.

From 1950 to 1960 (during the Soviet era) stone buildings were constructed at the facility, including two industrial buildings, which were renovated and remodelled in the 1990s as preliminary investigation units.

Tallinn Prison incorporates the former Maardu Prison, whose premises now house Tallinn Prison’s health department. Inmates from all prisons who require in-patient medical care are treated here.

Tallinn Prison has a staff of 551.45, of whom 322.3 are prison officers.You can see the number of prisoners of Talinn Prison here.

In addition to living quarters, the inmates have the use of a canteen, laundry, sauna, library, sports hall and recreational club. There are also social work rooms, which are used by recreational instructors, social workers, psychologists and a chaplain.

Inmates can obtain basic and secondary education in both Estonian and Russian, and learn the trades of property maintenance and electrical/computer maintenance.

Inmates work in the prison’s kitchen and laundry, carry out repairs and renovation work and are employed in the prison’s metalwork and woodwork workshops. The prison also has framework agreements with AS Eesti Vanglatööstus, Riigi Kinnisvara AS and OÜ VT Marketing for the employment of around 20 inmates.

Weekly support group meetings are held for those under preliminary investigation by the non-profit organisation Convictus.

History of Tallinn Prison

Tallinn Prison was established on the site of a prisoner-of-war camp that operated between 1944 and 1949. It was originally known as Correctional Work Colony no. 5 and housed its convicts in wooden barracks.

From 1950 to 1960, during the Soviet era, stone buildings – the required norm at the time – were constructed at the facility: dormitories, administrative buildings and workshops and factories. Extensions to the prison which were completed in 1978 saw it capable of accommodating 1000 inmates. The production activities of the prisoners were actively developed during this period.

In 1994, three years after Estonia had regained its independence, the facility was renamed Tallinn Prison and its basic functions were renewed and restructured. Since the (now defunct) central prison - known in Estonian as the ‘Patarei’- was becoming overcrowded, steps were taken to alleviate the problem by reconstructing the former mechanical equipment and bed factory buildings on the site, which stood empty, to house prisoners being held in custody. These new premises were opened in three stages between September 1994 and September 1997, providing space for a total of 650 prisoners.

In order to modernise and reorganise the work of the prison, two new buildings with individual cells were constructed at the prison and two preliminary custody departments established (in 1995 and 1997).

With the launch of AS Eesti Vanglatööstus in 2001 the prison abandoned its industrial work and all production activity at the prison ceased.

On 1 January 2003 the former central prison was merged with Tallinn Prison, followed in 2004 by Maardu Prison. The former Maardu Prison now houses Tallinn Prison’s health department, where in-patient medical services are provided. The central hospital for prisons, which operated under unsanitary conditions in the former central prison, was closed down in 2005.

Preparations are currently being made for the construction of a new Tallinn Prison (with a complete system of cells) in Maardu.