Devil's Gulag, more properly known as the Devil's Island Gulag, was an offshore prison complex that was once the primary prison used by the Kingdom of Acorn to hold its most dangerous captives.
Devil's Gulag is a veritable fortress, situated atop a tall spire in the middle of a stretch of ocean and surrounded by a ring of active volcanoes. The lava flow continually heats the water to a boiling 220 degrees Fahrenheit, preventing any escape by sea, and gives the place a hellish atmosphere (hence its name). Escape was widely considered impossible, although at least two breakouts are known to have occurred (one of which involved the intervention of Robo Robotnik and his orbiting satellites).
Established at an unknown point before Dr. Ivo Robotnik took control of the Kingdom of Acorn, Devil's Gulag was left empty for many years. It was brought into use again shortly before Robotnik's death. Sleuth Dawg was sentenced to be imprisoned there following his betrayal of the Robotropolis Spy Network, as was Sonic the Hedgehog after being framed for the supposed murder of Sally Acorn. They were transported to the prison together, but their transport was shot down during an attack by Robotnik's SWATbots before they arrived. Sonic escaped, but Sleuth was recaptured and taken to the Gulag. (StH: #42, #47, #48)
Following the death of Robotnik and the fall of his empire, the Freedom Fighters were able to capture many villains they had formerly dealt with. Among those sent to Devil's Gulag were Nack the Weasel, Drago Wolf, the members of the Fearsome Foursome (Sergeant Simian, Predator Hawk, Lightning Lynx, and Flying Frog) and Snively Kintobor. The last inmates to be brought to the Gulag were the crystallized Warlord Kodos and Uma Arachnis. (StH: #50, #54)
Snively wracked his brain over escaping from the Gulag, with his fellow inmates mocking him at every turn. However, their last taunt session coincided with the moment that a satellite activated in orbit by Dr. Eggman unlocked all the doors in the prison. The inmates were freed, and with the exception of Snively all thought him to be responsible for their liberation. Led by Drago, the criminals quickly overpowered the guards and laid waste to the fortress, escaping aboard a number of hovercraft. After some time working together as a group, the escapees were splintered by the Royal Secret Service in their rescue of Nate Morgan, resulting in the capture of Drago, Sleuth, and the Foursome, who would later escape the Gulag again and reorganize as the Destructix. (StH: #62, #63, #70, #162)
Following the reclamation of Mobotropolis and its return to being Robotropolis due to Eggman's machinations, prisoners were kept in an unsophisticated prison in Knothole. Following the destruction of that city, a new high security penitentiary was designed and created by Nicole, thus rendering Devil's Gulag redundant and effectively abandoned.
- The Devil's Gulag most likely got its name from the now defunct Russian Glavnoe Upravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh LAGerei (often abbreviated as 'Gulag'), a government agency that administered labor and prison and concentration camp system in the Soviet Union. The term gulag has since entered the English language to refer to the Soviet penal system as a whole, then any such penal system, and is sometimes applied to individual prisons. It has been adopted in other Communist nations such as North Korea and 1960s China.
- The Soviet gulag housed a wide variety of convicts, ranging from political prisoners to petty criminals. It was a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.