Penal Facilities

Documented Facilities
Types of Facilities
Province with most facilities

Penal Facilities by Province

The map below visualise reported penal facilities in North Korea by province. The provinces showed in darker shades indicate the higher number of reported penal facilities. Click North Hamgyong, the province with the highest reported number, to see detailed information. Please note that some penal facilities do not have known geolocations but are reflected in the province they were reported to be in.

South Pyongang-평안남도 South Hamgyong-함경남도 Ryanggang-양강도 Rason-나선 North Hamgyong-함경북도 North Pyongang-평안북도 North Hwanghae-황해북도 Kangwon-강원도 Chagang-자강도 South Hwanghae-황해남도 Pyongang-평양

Types of Penal Facilities


Waiting room

23 Facilities

Detention facility, often managed by the MPS, where suspects accused of crimes are temporarily held prior to pre-trial examination or transfer to another detention facility. Waiting rooms exist in MPS facilities on all administrative levels from the MPS sub-municipal stations (also known as bo-an-so or bun-ju-so) to the city, county, and province-level MPS agencies.


Holding centre

13 Facilities

An extrajudicial provincial level detention facility commonly managed by the MPS, but also by the MSS, for detainees awaiting transfer to their local MPS detention centre or precinct. Detainees have typically been refouled from China. Detainees who were arrested for travelling without required documentation are detained in a separate holding centre for domestic travellers.


Detention centre

73 Facilities

Detention facility managed by the MPS and MSS on the city-, county-, district-, provincial-, and national-levels. This category of facility detains suspects undergoing pre-trial examination and detainees who have been sentenced and are awaiting transfer to a further penal facility.

Officially Rodong Kyoyangdae, commonly Rodong Danryondae

Labour training centre

28 Facilities

City-, county-, or district-level detention facility managed by the MPS and PCNK. It holds detainees sentenced to an administrative penalty of short-term labour for between five days and 6 months (rodong kyoyang chobol). Administrative penalties served at labour training centres are based on the 2011 Administrative Punishment Law.

Commonly referred to as rodong danryondae, rodong kyoyangso or song danryondae

Labour training camp

7 Facilities

Provincial- and national-level detention facility managed by the MPS for detainees sentenced to 6-12 months (rodong danryon hyong) for non-political crimes. Detainees sentenced to labour training camps retain their citizenship and party membership. Sentences served at labour training camps are based on the revised 2015 criminal code.


Re-education camp

10 Facilities

Detention facility managed by the MPS for detainees convicted of non-political crimes and who have been handed a re-education sentence (rodong kyohwa hyong) of between 1 and 15 years or a life sentence. Detainees sentenced to re-education camps are deprived of their citizenship and party membership. Sentences served at re-education camps are based on the revised 2015 criminal code.

kwalliso, commonly referred to as chongchibom suyongso

Political prison camp

2 Facilities

A detention facility managed by the MSS, but also by the MPS, for detainees sentenced with political crimes.


Closed detention facility

A detention facility, generally documented as managed by the MSS, whose location has been unidentified but is reserved for detainees charged with political crimes and who are undergoing investigation and for detainees who have been sentenced to a political prison camp and are awaiting transfer.

Temporary penal facilities

86 Facilities

Temporary penal facilities include offices, kkotjebi relief stations, and facilities such as rural construction unit facilities (nongchon gonsoldae) which are temporarily repurposed as detention centres. In some instances, offices function as waiting rooms when regular penal facilities are non-existent or when evidence is insufficient to prove the charge of the accused. Kkotjebi relief stations, originally shelters for homeless people, are run by the PCNK and accommodate detainees when regular detention facilities, generally belonging to the MPS, are at maximum capacity or under construction.