The tuberculosis (TB) situation in the Russian penitentiary system has received much attention. We performed a descriptive epidemiological study of TB in two St Petersburg remand prisons (SIZOs). The medical databases of the TB divisions in these prisons were searched for all diagnosed cases of TB from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2002. The main diagnostic method was chest x ray. The total number of reported TB cases in these two remand prisons during this three-year period was 876. Out of these, 432 were diagnosed at entry to prison, and 444 developed the disease during incarceration, with the proportion diagnosed during incarceration increasing over time. The majority of cases were aged under 30 years. TB incidence in Russian remand prisons is still very high and needs to be monitored closely.