After the rebellion of 1831 cut a swarth, during revolutionary movement in Western Europe and its reverberations manifesting themselves in Kaunas and province, the city and province administration had to take care of building a new prison. In 1857 a building contract with Kaunas merchant of the 3rd Guild Berel Sternfeld was concluded, he pledged at his expense to build a prison and rent it to the administration which during 30 years of rent by this will return the expenses. In spring of 1858 building work was started which continued till 1864.

In the project of the new prison 300 places for prisoners, a chapel, administrative-household premises, apartments for employees were planned. But later there the number of places for prisoners grew up to 550. In the principal blocks in which two long annexes formed 84 joint Institutions and 36 holes were arranged. A joint Institution length was 5.5. m and the width was approximately the same. A hole length was 4.5 m and the width was from 1.6 m to 2.1 m. Although these Institutions were called holes, as time passed 3, 4 or even 5 prisoners were kept in them.

In rather dark and damp prison basement Institutions were arranged as well. There was a period when a resending Institution was functioning there as well. In this basement penal isolation wardes were arranged as well.

Inside the prison there were two yards for prisoner walks – one of 41 m length and 10.5 m width, another (for ladies) was very narrow of 4.8 m width. On all sides the walk yards were surrounded by prison walls and high brick fences. Around them in turrets armed guards were on duty all 24 hours.

The prison block of yellowish colour, three storeys with small windows webbed with bar was covered by a thick brick fence of four metres height. On its top a barwire maze of one and a half metre was bulging. The prison was seen far in Kaunas environs and aroused terror in everybody. The folks called it „Kaunas Bastilia“ , The Yellow One“.

The new prison the building of which was finished in 1865 was aimed more at punishing criminals. But beginning with 1863 in it political prisoners were the majority. Their number did not reduce afterInstitutions as well, especially when in the region revolutionary movement started to manifest itself. The prison was becoming cramped and it was continuously expanded. At the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century the guards of tsar regime, Keiser occupiers, administration of bourgeois Lithuania and Hitler invaders were expanding it.

During the building of the prison in 1863 Lithuanian-Byelorussian peasant rebellion began, the tsar punishers lacked place of imprisonment and thousands of rebels were thrown into the casemates of the still being built prison. So Kaunas prison in fact started functioning in 1863 and the running of the whole prison was started on 29 September 1865.

The walls of the prison were guarding many leaders of 1863 rebellion and ordinary rebels, during the period of 1905-1907 revolution the prison Institutions were overcrowded with political prisoners.

When the dictatorship of bourgeois Lithuania came into power its leaders following the example of tsarist Russia prisoners turned Kaunas prison to „Hard Work Prison“. The imprisonment conditions in it were constantly worsening. The number of prisoners was growing. In 1921 796 prisoners were jammed into it.

In 1925 Kaunas Hard Labour Prison belonged to the Republic of Lithuania Ministry of Justice. The prison complex consisted of 7 brick buildings. In 1927 1290 prisoners, in 1937 - 1939 – 1500 prisoners were kept here. On 1 June 1945 the number of people imprisoned in it reached the greatest number during all the period of its existence – 3515 people were imprisoned there.

During the years of Great Patriotic War people called Kaunas prison „Hitler‘s Hotel“. In it there never were as many people as then. When space for new unhappy ones was lacking, those who were imprisoned earlier were en masse driven to the forts and shot there.

On 26 July 1960 Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers passed resolution No. 390 which completely liquidated this institution of imprisonment. After overhaul of the palace and performing reconstruction work in the place of the prison at Mickevicius street 11 Kaunas Polytechnic Institute „Vibrotechnika“ scientific research sector settled the principal scientific direction of which was precise vibro-equipment.  The gloomy „Kaunas Bastilia“ became the nursery of education – science.

On 22 July 1993 by the resolution of the Lithuanian Republic Government No. 522 the building was to be reconstructed into Kaunas Investigatory Isolation Institution. On 21 January 1994 the building was transferred to MIA Kaunas C. Police Commissariat.

In 1997 the building reconstruction was started which continued for more than six years and cost 24 million Litas.


During the implementation of legal system reform on 1 September 2000 Lithuanian criminal punishment system was transferred from the sphere of management of Ministry of Internal Affairs to the sphere of management of the Ministry of Justice. The Department of Corrective Affairs was returned its name which it had during the Lithuanian interwar period – Prison Department at the Republic of Lithuania Ministry of Justice.


Kaunas Investigatory Isolation Institution by decision of the Republic of Lithuania Government was established on 21 January 2004. That is a new institution subordinate to Prison Department at the Republic of Lithuania Ministry of Justice – the first imprisonment institution opened after the restoration of independence in Lithuania.

Kaunas Investigatory Isolation Institution is the most modern imprisonment institution in Lithuania. The territory of Isolation Institution occupies about 7 thousand square metres. In three storey building 86 wards, walk yards and administration premises have been arranged. In wards of two-four places 280 persons can be kept at the same time for whom custody – arrest has been imposed by court decision.


Kaunas Investigatory Isolation Institution was officially opened and presented to society on 10 June 2004. In the organized solemn opening ceremony Minister of Justice Vytautas Markevicius, Vice-minister Gintaras Svedas, Prison Department Deputy Directors Saulius Vitkunas and Vilius Slaiciunas, Kauns City Mayor Arvydas Garbaravicius, Chairman of Kaunas Circuit Court Albertas Milinis, heads of the country imprisonment institutions, other honourable guests participated.


By order of the Minister of Justice Markas Tokarevas was appointed as the institution director. Since 9 January 2006 Arnoldas Pranevicius who formerly worked as Kaunas Minor Investigatory Isolation Institution – Penitentiary Director has been heading Kaunas Investigatory Isolation Institution.


Updated on: 8/28/2015 11:50 AM
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