Honorable Mention TOKYO-2017 Editorial / Photo Essay

"Boys"

  • Photographer
    Tatiana Bondareva-Egorova

I was taking photographs of young convicts at a prison for underage youth is Saint-Petersburg. Young offender institutions take kids from 14 to 18 years old. Parodoxically, many convicts boys want to be in a prison because it is considered prestigious. Today, the criminal way of life is gaining wide acceptance and even gets glorified in the media. There are boys who have committed various crimes including hooliganism, rape and murders. The conditions of detention in such institutes are much better compared to a regular prison in Russia. The prison’s personnel are more like care takers rather that wardens. For many of the boys, who grew up neglected, life in the prison is more comfortable than was outside. Instead of the of street life chaos, prison community offers established ground rules, protection and stability. There is a secondary school, orthodox church, сentres of excellence. However, when they are released they return into the same criminal world and dysfunctional families. Many of the boys have large prison terms. Therefore, when they will 18 years old, they will be transferred to an adult prison. For many, prison functions as prep school for the criminal world. I was investigating their lives in this closed up facility as a life in a closed community. The boys as like on single organism that lost their youth.