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Tallinn Prison



Linnaaru tee 5, Soodevahe küla, Rae vald, 75322 Harjumaa



Type of prison

closed cell-based prison facilities for prisoners in custody pending trial; closed dorm-type prison for prisoners held in imprisonment sections; open prison



males and females in custody; adult male and female convicted offenders

Max. number of prisoners

1190, in addition 102 in open prison

The origins of Tallinn Prison date back to 1919 when Patarei Sea Fortress was transformed into a prison. As by 2000 the facility, later named the Central Prison, had become obsolete, in 2003 the institution relocated to a prison facility on Magasini Street (the facility was established on the premises of a POW camp which operated in 1944 – 1949). In the 1990s two new cell-based prison buildings were erected and two wards for prisoners in custody pending trial were established for the detention of primarily persons under preliminary investigation.

In 2004, Maardu Prison was integrated into Tallinn Prison.

Until 2005, Maardu served as a juvenile prison.

From July 2005 to the year 2010, the former prison building at Vana-Narva mnt. 17, Maardu, housed the prison hospital, providing in-patient and out-patient medical services to prisoners in all prisons. As from February 2011, the same premises facilitate Tallinn Prison’s Maardu Unit, the principal task of which until February 2014 was to organize supervision and sentencing enforcement as pertaining to prisoners serving a sentence of a maximum of one year and prisoners undergoing treatment or medical examinations. As from 2014, the Maardu Unit serves as an open prison, also continuing as a tuberculosis ward.

On June 1, 2008 the probation supervision departments of Harju County Court and Pärnu County Court were integrated into Tallinn Prison. Service facilities and stations of Harju and Pärnu probation supervision department are located across Estonia.

Following integration of Harku and Murru Prison into Tallinn Prison on June 1, 2016, Tallinn Prison accommodates female prisoners in a separate building – the Fifth Unit. 

The new Tallinn Prison in Soodevahe village in the territory of the Rae rural municipality outside the capital City started operating in December 2018.

The prison has capacity for 1,208 inmates. It is made up of 512 chambers for men and 92 chambers for women. The prison complex also includes an open prison with a capacity for 100 inmates and mother-child department, which is meant for female inmates and their up to 3-year-old children.

The prison incorporates 581.8 staff positions, including 350.3 prison officer positions.

For a precise prisoner count click here.

Besides their living quarters, prisoners make use of a cafeteria, laundry room, showering facilities, library, sports hall, and social work facilities, the utilization of which is managed by the Correctional Recreation Officer, social workers, psychologists, and the Chaplain.

Basic education is available to prisoners in both Estonian and Russian, and secondary education in Estonian only. Vocational education programs are available to prisoners in landscaping, tiling, cleaning services, and sewing. The prison also provides Estonian courses to prisoners for whom Estonian is not their first language.

Prisoners work in the kitchen, laundry room, library, boiler plant, garage, and metalwork and woodwork workshop, and undertake construction repairs, sewing and packaging work, and cleaning work. Tallinn Prison has signed framework agreements with Riigi Kinnisvara AS (State Real Estate Ltd.), Rolemen OÜ, Eesti Vanglatööstuse AS (Estonian Prison Industry Plc.), and Cargoexpert AS for application of prisoner labor. A total of approximately one hundred twenty prisoners are thus employed.


Harku and Murru Prison

On June 1, 2016 Harku and Murru Prison was integrated into Tallinn Prison and the use of prison facilities in Harku small town ceased.  

Female prisoners were housed in the designated separate building at Tallinn Prison and male prisoners in Tallinn, Tartu, and Viru Prisons.

The beginning of Harku detention institution can be said to date back to 1926 when a forced labor camp was established on the site.

At different times in the 1920s – 1930s, a prison for adult prisoners, a correction facility for juvenile delinquents as well as a work camp for idlers and drunks were all located at Harku.
On January 1, 1938 Murru Prison House was established in the form of a stone industry outfit that enabled the employment of a maximum of 400 convicted offenders.

1965 – Harku Prison transformed into a women’s prison
January 1, 2001 – Rummu Prison integrated into Murru Prison
February 1, 2001 – Rummu Open Prison established
December 1, 2007 – Ämari Prison integrated into Murru Prison
April 1, 20014 – Rummu Open Prison integrated into Murru Prison
January 15, 2011 – Harku Prison integrated into Murru Prison
December 31, 2012 – Murru premises of Harku and Murru Prison closed 
April 1, 2014 – open prison at Harku and Murru Prison closed
As of the beginning of 2010, male prisoners advanced in years were also housed at Harku.