top 15 most dangerous prisons in the world
Top 15 most dangerous prisons in the world

If there’s any place more dangerous than the prisons, it is the world outside it. Humans have taken it their due right to harm others physically, and this behavior has made society more violent. Eventually, the most dangerous criminals end up locked in certain prisons, notoriously for their harsh conditions and brutal treatment. You can probably imagine what it is like to have some of the most violent people locked together in the same place. One thing is for sure – if there is a hell on Earth, it is something similar to those prisons, full of misery, suffering and brutality.

List of top 15 worst prisons in the world

15. Gladni Prison

14. Turkish Diyarbakir Prison

13. Bang Kwang Prison

12. La Santé

11. ADX Florence Supermax Prison

10. Petak Island Prison

9. San Quentin State Prison

8. Gitarama Central Prison

7. Abomey Prison

6. Tadmor Prison

5. Terre Haute

4. Mendoza Prison

3. Camp 22

2. Kamiti Maximum Security prison

1. Carandiru Prison

Top 15 most dangerous prisons in the world

15. Gladni Prison

Photo: Georgian Journal
Photo: Georgian Journal

Located in the outskirts of Tbilisi, Gldani prison is the largest in Georgia, with four thousand people. Constantly criticized by the opposition and human rights activists, the penitentiary system of Georgia is, at the same time, subjected to the same stringent changes in the time the Georgian police. Meanwhile, the authorities carefully get rid of a traditional “thug zone” order spirit. They treat the contingent of “inmates” very tough, but fair. So-called “Theft laws” – destroyed in the bud. That describes the situation in Georgian prisons by the witnesses.

"These particular prisons are the very definition of hell on earth. It’s easy to think, “They committed a crime, now they have to do the time.” However, they are still human beings. Consider that many of the men, women, and children locked away in these wretched buildings are not all convicted criminals. Many are awaiting trial and many will never see a trial or their freedom again. Children are not criminals, but in some countries, prison colonies include the spouse and children of the prisoner.” - reads the story published by The Richest website.

14. Turkish Diyarbakir Prison

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Diyarbakır, a city of 1.8 million in Turkey’s south-east, is the country’s unofficial Kurdish capital, with a complex, proud and bloody history of resistance against the state.

For many, the prison is the ultimate manifestation of the pain of the Kurdish struggle: in the 1980s and 90s, thousands of Kurdish men and women were imprisoned there and subjected to horrific forms of torture, earning it the reputation of being one of the worst prisons in the world.

Diyarbakır prison is still a functioning jail today. But on a rare visit to the city last week, his first in two and a half years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the site would be turned into a cultural centre.

The prison wards used terms usually employed for acts of diversion and cleanness such as disco, welcome, theatre or bathroom for the different styles of torture they practiced. Among the most common practices were: severe and systematic beating; pulling of hair; being stripped naked; being blindfolded and hosed; solitary confinement; guards' insults; constant and relentless surveillance and intimidation; death threats; the obligation to salute Captain Esat Oktay Yıldıran's dog, a German shepherd called "Jo", which was trained to bite the genitals of naked prisoners; sleep, sensory, water and food deprivation for extensive periods; falaka (beating of the soles of feet), "Palestinian hangings" (hanging by the arms); stress positions or forcing prisoners to stand for long durations; excessive exercise in extreme temperatures; stretching, squeezing or crushing of limbs and genitals; piling of naked prisoners on top of each other; asphyxia and mock execution; electric shocks (specifically electrodes attached to genitals); burning with cigarettes; extraction of nails and healthy teeth; sexual humiliation and assault; rectal examinations; forcing prisoners to beat/sexually humiliate/rape or urinate on each other; rape or threat of rape of prisoners, or relatives of prisoners in their presence by prison guards; violent forcing of truncheon rectally; baths in prison sewers (referred to as "the disco" by the guards)."

13. Bang Kwang Prison

Photo: Thailand Bail
Photo: Thailand Bail

There are little prisons in the world whose conditions are as harsh as Bang Kwang Central Prison, located at the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Envisioned by King Rama V (1853-1910), and created between the years of 1927 and 1931. It was built not to be an ordinary prison, but a penitentiary for the worst offenders who are awaiting sentences of the Appeal Court and or Surpreme Court, inmates who were sentenced to remain in prison between 25 to life, and death sentence prisoners who waited for executions.

Over its long history Bang Kwang Central Prison became well known around Thailand and Asia as one of the harshest prisons in the world, with conditions that caused many prisoners to loose either their life or their sanity. For the first 3 months of each inmate stay there, they were chained with leg irons, which caused significant moral blow and reduced capability to move. Inmates sentenced to death sentence were chained in leg irons permanently, before they met their end either by firing squad or recently by lethal injection.

12. La Santé

Photo: CAPA
Photo: CAPA

La Santé Prison (literally meaning Prison of la Santé Street) (French: Maison d'arrêt de la Santé or Prison de la Santé) is a prison operated by the French Prison Service of the Ministry of Justice located in the east of the Montparnasse district of the 14th arrondissement in Paris, France at 42 Rue de la Santé. It is one of the most infamous prisons in France, with both VIP and high security wings.

Along with the Fleury-Mérogis Prison (Europe's largest prison) and the Fresnes Prison, both located in the southern suburbs, La Santé is one of the three main prisons of the Paris area.

11. ADX Florence Supermax Prison

Photo: Amnesty
Photo: Amnesty

ADX Florence, built south of Florence Colorado in 1994, is the most secure prison in the United States prison system. Commonly referred to as a “Supermax” prison, it has 490 beds in a compound which encompasses 37 acres.

The prison was designed to house prisoners deemed too dangerous or high-profile for regular incarceration, and nearly 95% of all inmates that have been sent to Florence were transfers with histories of violent behavior in other prison facilities.

ADX Florence is known for its harsh conditions; inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The hour they are allowed out is into a bigger cell with vaulted ceilings called the “empty swimming pool.” This room has a 4-inch by 4-foot skylight as the only window. It is designed to prevent the prisoners from knowing where they are, and they still spend this time alone.

For at least the first three years, prisoners are not allowed to come into contact with other prisoners at any time – anywhere on the premises. Over time, good behavior can earn inmates more “outside” time, and for the most fortunate a possible transfer back to a less-secure prison can await.

ADX WAS BORN AFTER THE KILLING OF TWO CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS

According to the Washington Post, ADX was conceived in the wake of the killing of two correctional officers on October 22, 1983, at the Marion Federal Prison in Illinois – what was at the time the toughest federal prison in the country. After their deaths, Marion was changed into an “all-lockdown” facility, and served as the test model for other “supermax” lockdown facilities like Pelican Bay and, eventually, ADX.

"WORSE THAN DEATH"

Current C1 columnist Robert Hood, who served as ADX warden from 2002 to 2005 described life in ADX in stark terms to CNN:

"As soon as they come through the door ... you see it in their faces. That's when it really hits you. You're looking at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop. When you get inside, that is the last time you will ever see it. The Supermax is life after death. It's long term. In my opinion, it's far much worse than death."

IT HOLDS MANY HIGH-PROFILE INMATES

A facility for the worst of the worst obviously holds a lot of criminals with household names. The Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid all call ADX home.

10. Petak Island Prison

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

"The difference between this prison and others is that in other places, prisoners see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here? It's all darkness."-Chief Guard

When it comes to Russian convicts, there must be something more than a typical prison to be able to correct their behavior and it certainly has to be a place that everyone would fear. If you wonder what kind of a place that might that be, the answer is the prison on Petak Island. Russia’s government really gave their best effort when they built it.

The island is located in the middle of one of Russia’s biggest lakes, and the prison itself is full of the worst criminals the country has seen. Each of them spends about twenty hours every day locked in solitary confinement.

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9. San Quentin State Prison

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

San Quentin State Prison, maximum-security correctional facility for men located in San Quentin, near San Francisco, California. Opened in 1854, the penitentiary is the state’s oldest prison and its only facility that conducts executions. San Quentin is also among the most well-known prisons in the United States.

Throughout its history, San Quentin was the site of violence, perhaps most notably in the 1960s and ’70s. Of particular note was a failed escape in 1971 that left six people dead. Political and racial issues also resulted in conflicts, and since the mid-1990s the prison’s extreme overcrowding has caused problems. Although designed for nearly 3,100 inmates, the population generally far exceeded that number. The lack of space as well as security concerns over the aging prison led to calls to close the facility, and such efforts increased in the early 21st century. However, proposals for the use of the prison’s land—which was prime real estate—were hotly debated.

As one of the oldest prisons in the United States, San Quentin was among the country’s most well known, referenced in numerous movies, television shows, songs, and books. It gained additional prominence after country singers Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, a former inmate, performed there in 1969 and 1971, respectively. In addition, San Quentin inmates were regularly featured in episodes of the TV documentary series Lockup.

8. Gitarama Central Prison

Photo: Zee News
Photo: Zee News

Gitarama prison in Rwanda is said to be one of the deadliest in the world.

The condition in this prison are a nightmare for one to stay. According to reports, around 6-7 thousand inmates are locked inside it, whereas the maximum capacity of the jail is only 600.

The prisoners of Gitarama prison spend their time mostly standing due to shortage of space.

But what's more troubling is the fact that the inmates frequently indulge in deadly fights and eat the dead bodies of the prisoners killed to stay alive.

Not only this, reports say that 7-8 prisoners die daily in Gitarama jail due to pathetic conditions. The prisoners more often remain barefoot and suffer from gangrene.

7. Abomey Prison

The skin of many prisoners in Abomey is ragged due to the extraction of fly larvae, a scourge that is symptomatic of the deplorable conditions of one of Benin’s oldest prisons. Many inmates also suffer from tuberculosis, scabies, parasites, lung infections or other illnesses.

The civilian prison of Abomey, located in southern Benin, was built in 1904 to house a maximum of 150 prisoners. Now more than 1,000 inmates are crammed into small, fetid cells that lack proper ventilation or sanitation, according to Dominique Sounou, executive director of the Dispensary of Prisoners and Indigents (DAPI), a local non-governmental organisation that looks after the health of the inmates at Abomey.

The situation inside is so difficult that the inmates sleep in shifts, and people being suffocated to death is an common sight. What is truly horrifying about the place is that the people inside are mostly awaiting trial, which often takes years to happen.

6. Tadmor Prison

Photo: Quatanra.de
Photo: Quatanra.de

Westerners know Palmyra for its ancient Greco-Roman ruins, but the Arabic term for the place, Tadmur, gives most Syrians goose-bumps.

It's synonymous with death, torture, horror, and madness.

The prison was built by the French in the 1930s, in heart of the desert, about 200km northeast of Damascus. But it was during Hafez al-Assad 30-year rule between 1971 and 2000 that it gained its current reputation. Thousands of political dissidents were reported to have been humiliated, tortured, and summarily executed there.

The arbitrary detention and brutal treatment of political prisoners at Tadmur began in the 1970s, when an opposition movement started gaining momentum.

Led by the Muslim Brotherhood and several secular parties, activists demanded political representation and the rule of law. The Muslim Brotherhood grew in popularity and its armed wing carried out acts of political violence against the army and the Assad regime.

But in the late 70s and early 80s thousands of supporters of leftist and Islamist groups were arrested.

Many were executed or died under torture. The lucky ones spent three or four years in prison. Some were there for 20.

5. Terre Haute

Photo: BOP
Photo: BOP

The United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute (USP Terre Haute) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana. It is part of the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute (FCC Terre Haute) and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. USP Terre Haute houses a Special Confinement Unit for male federal inmates who have been sentenced to death as well as the federal execution chamber. Most inmates sentenced to death by the U.S. Federal Government are housed in USP Terre Haute prior to execution, although there are some exceptions. FCC Terre Haute is located in the city of Terre Haute, 70 miles (110 km) west of Indianapolis.

4. Mendoza Prison

Photo: Martian Heralds
Photo: Martian Heralds

The Mendoza prison is considered among the most crowded prisons in the world. According to an estimate, five inmates are living in a cell that measures only four square meters. There have been several complaints of inadequate drainage systems in prison.

The condition is so poor that the prisoners are forced to use plastic bags and bottles as their toilets. Necessary medical facilities also lack in prison, and the prisoners only see the doctor when they have died.

Mendoza is not the only province where prisoners are held in appalling conditions. In penitentiary facilities in the province of Buenos Aires, where most of the country’s inmates are concentrated, riots and other forms of violence that often lead to deaths are becoming more and more routine.

It also reported that guards use hoods when beating prisoners in the searches that are regularly carried out to maintain discipline. To protest the mistreatment and severe conditions, 14 inmates between the ages of 18 and 21 sewed their mouths shut for several days earlier this year.

3. Camp 22

Photo: Business Insider
Photo: Business Insider

North Korea operates a growing network of prison camps containing up to 200,000 prisoners in conditions likened by survivors to Nazi concentration camps. This atrocity gains little international attention, though the United Nations Human Rights Council is considering a formal inquiry for possible crimes against humanity.

There are over 24 million people living inside North Korea. But there are between 150,000 and 200,000 who have 'disappeared'. They live in brutal concentration camps throughout the country.

Former prisoners say conditions are so bad that 20 to 25 percent of the prison population dies every year. Successful escapes have been few. That's because anyone who tries, plans, or has knowledge of an escape is executed, and all prisoners are required to watch.

2. Kamiti Maximum Security prison

Photo: The Economist
Photo: The Economist

The Kamiti Maximum Security prison in Nairobi is widely known to be an extremely brutal place. The facility’s capacity is around 1,400 people, but the actual number of convicts is more than 4,000. The buildings lack a water supply system, so the inmates have to carry it in tanks manually every day under the burning sun. Worst of all, the G-block of the Kamiti prison is the root of everything gruesome in the complex, like rapes, sodomy and endless violence.

When smartphones become widely popular, some videos of the horror inside emerged. In 2008, police forces attempted to find and take every single smartphone from the inmates, and the raid escalated in a massive beating, which some of the prisoners recorded on video. The place has seen a cholera epidemic and other preventable diseases.

1. Carandiru Prison

Photo: Amnesty
Photo: Amnesty

Carandiru Penitentiary is today remembered as one of the worst prisons in the history of modern world, and the place of one of the largest human rights violations in the history of Brazil. Built by the Samuel das Neves to meet all the demands of the 1890 criminal code, this prison became so overcrowded at the end of the 20th century that inmates managed to live by their rules, overpowering small amount of guards that worked there.

During the peak of its use, this prison housed over 8000 prisoners, with only 1000 prison officers trying unsuccessfully to control them. Conditions inside the walls were truly horrific - gags ruled every inch of the prison blocks, malnutrition was commonplace, diseases and injuries were treated by minimal medical staff almost always without the use of any painkillers (chief medical director was too scared to enter the prison for years, fearing for his life and health), and majority of inmates was suffering from HIV and other types of easily transmissible diseases.

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