Refuge Network International

Hell on earth! the worst prisons in the world

A peep into some of the worst prisons on earth.

While some prisons are actually quite nice with televisions, work out rooms, ping pong tables, and hearty servings of food, there are numerous prisons (primarily in underdeveloped nations) that are very rightfully called “hell on Earth”. Of course, there are those of you who will say, the prisoners should have thought twice before committing a crime. Fair enough, but remember…most of the worst prisons in the world are not in democratic, fair trial countries.

The worst prisons in the world combine torture, corruption and eternities of solitary confinement making these lockups unusually cruel punishment.

1. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility is located in New York and is one of the worst prisons in the world. It is a maximum security level prison which detains many violent offenders. It was constructed in 1930 and and since then there have been several riots there. In 1971 there was a huge riot which took place where the 2,200 inmates overpowered the 42 staff members that worked there, resulting in the loss of many lives.

1. Attica Correctional Facility

 

 

2. Kamiti Maximum Security Prison

The Kamiti Maximum Security Prison is located in Nairobi, Kenya and is a very rough place to be imprisoned. There have long been rumors and complaints that of sodomy and inmates being beaten to death a daily basis within these walls. There are also epidemics of malnutrition, cholera, and ulcers which are all part of everyday life here. Many of the inmates here are political prisoners which means that there are no holds barred when it comes to what goes on inside

2. Kamiti Maximum Security Prison

 

3. Camp 1931

Camp 1931 is a high risk Israel Defense Forces prison camp located in northern Israel. This prison wasn’t even known of by the majority of the world until 2003. It is less than an hour away from Tel Aviv and is regarded as one of the most dangerous jails in the world. Most of its prisoners and contents remain classified even though the world now knows about this maximum security prison.

3. Camp 1931

 

 

4. Butyrka Prison

Butyrka Prison is located in Moscow, Russia and is a very dangerous place. The overcrowding inside of this jail is so rampant that there are at times 100 prisoners placed inside of a cell which was only intended to hold 10. Diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis are extremely common. It is known as the largest prison in Russia and at one time held in excess of 20,000 prisoners.

4. Butyrka Prison

 

5. Petak Island Prison

Known as the Alcatraz of Russia, Petak Island Prison is a living hell. Each inmate is locked inside of a maximum security cell for most of the day where they have complete isolation from other prisoners and guards as well. many of the inmates here die due to the freezing temperatures from the nearby water and falling snow. The prison is isolated by Russia’s White Lake and is known to hold some of the nation’s most dangerous prisoners.

5. Petak Island Prison

 

6. Stanley Prison

Stanley Prison in Hong Kong holds some of that nation’s most brutal and violent offenders. It was built in 1937 and is a maximum security facility, one of six in Hong Kong. This prison allows the death penalty and more than 600 prisoners have been executed since they opened their doors nearly seven decades ago. It’s population generally tends to stay around the 3,000 inmate mark.

6. Stanley Prison

 

 

7. La Sante

La Sante prison is located in Paris, France and first opened in 1867. During World War II the prison held common criminals as well as war criminals. La Sante contains just as many if not more pests such as rats and lice than it does inmates. These conditions make it a terrible place to be held captive which is why every year several inmates commit suicide.

7. La Sante

 

 


 

In 2000, the prison’s chief medical officer was so shocked by the brutal conditions in the overcrowded jail that she published a diary about her seven-year experience that sparked a parliamentary inquiry.

“Three inmates fought with knives. I was standing in blood until about midnight. The next day, it starts all over again … multiple injuries. It’s the humidity, the sun, the suffocating heat in the cells that makes them go crazy,” Véronique Vasseur wrote in the diary. Her description of a jail infested by rats, cockroaches and lice was a vision of hell. Some prisoners in the cramped shared cells drank drain cleaner or rat poison to put an end to their misery and others suffered from skin rashes caused by the lack of hygiene with only two showers allowed each week, she said.-The Guradian UK

 


 

8. Alcatraz

Alcatraz may just be the most famous prison in the entire world but it is also one of the worst to have ever held inmates captive. Located in San Francisco, California, “The Rock” as it was commonly referred to opened as a federal correctional facility in 1933 and closed its doors as a jail in 1963.

8. Alcatraz

 

 


 

 The federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California’s San Francisco Bay housed some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. Among those who served time at the maximum-security facility were the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947) and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud (1890-1963). No inmate ever successfully escaped The Rock, as the prison was nicknamed, although more than a dozen known attempts were made over the years.- History.com


 

9. San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin is not only California’s oldest state prison but it is also one of the most dangerous. It first opened in 1852 and currently it is the largest U.S. holding facility for male death row inmates. There is a gas chamber still inside of the prison but since 1996 all of its death row inmates have been given lethal injections. It’s current population is just under 4,000 inmates.

9. San Quentin State Prison

 

 

10. San Juan de Lurigancho

Located in Lima, Peru, San Juan de Lurigancho is known by many as the toughest prison in South America. The prison has quite the over-population problem as it was constructed to hold just 2,500 prisoners but houses over 7,000 inmates to date. The environment inside is very lax which means all sorts of crimes occur including selling of drugs, rape and murder. The fact that the guards aren’t truly attentive to what is going on makes this one of the world’s worst prisons.

10. San Juan de Lurigancho

11. Rikers Island Prison

Rikers Island is New York City’s major prison complex and holds some of the United States’ fiercest criminals. The prison literally sits on an island in between the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx and is adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. Rikers Island is commonly referred to as “The Island” by New Yorkers and is known to have some of the most brutal guards in the country working within it. This is another reason why this is one of the world’s most dangerous prisons.

11. Rikers Island Prison

 

 

12. Gitarama Central Prison

Gitarama Central Prison is located in Rwanda and known around the world as one of the worst prisons to be inside of. The conditions here are so bad that some prisoners resort to eating each others flesh just to stay alive themselves. Many prisoners who have been incarcerated in it describe it as ‘hell on earth’ which speaks volumes of its conditions. It was originally designed to house just 400 prisoners however for whatever reason the population jumped to nearly 7,000 in the 1990’s.

Rwanda. Jail

 


 Life prisoners – all Hutu – in Muhanga (formerly Gitarama) Prison are, according to the Global Research caption, regularly “hung, cuffed and crucified.” Some appear very young. Eighty percent of those who are released reportedly live no longer than another year or two. In 1995, the British Independent newspaper described this as the “worst prison in the world.” Much of it was destroyed by fire June 5. Were the prisoners inside? Are their bodies in Lake Rweru? – San Francisco Bay View


 

13. El Rodeo

El Rodeo Prison is located in Guatire, Venezuela and is considered the country’s worst inmate holding facility as well as one of the worst in the world. There are approximately 50,000 prisoners living inside of this maximum security facility. In 2011 there was a huge gang war which broke out that required the help from armed forces to end. This is truly a prison that makes people never want to return if they are lucky enough to be released.

13. El Rodeo

 


Since 1999 almost 5,000 prisoners have been killed. Guns have replaced home-made knives as the weapon of choice. Kidnapping, extortion and drug-trafficking rings are run from the jails by mobile phone. Prisoners pay a monthly fee to their pran, who determines where they sleep, what they eat and whether they live or die. According to El Universal, a newspaper, at the average prison these payments total $2.5m a year.- The Economist


 

 

14. Bang Kwang Central Prison

Bang Kwang Central Prison is located in the Nonthaburi Province of Thailand which is about seven miles north of Bangkok. This men’s-only correctional facility is considered one of the worst prisons in the Far East. It’s over crowded population and understaffed officers makeup much of the reason why it is one of the worst places in the world. This jail houses several foreign prisoners as well as inmates who awaiting to be put to death.

14. Bang Kwang Central Prison

inmates cooking at Christmas

 

 

 

15. Camp 22

Camp 22 in North Korea may just be the worst prison in the entire world. The political prison camp’s official name is actually Kwan-li-so No. 22 and is completely isolated from the outside world. Prisoners and even their families in some cases are held in lifelong detention here. There are over 50,000 inmates inside of Camp 22.

15. Camp 22

 

 

16. Carandiru Penitentiary

The Carandiru Penitentiary is located in San Paulo, Brazil and first opened in 1920. It did not house its first criminals until 1956 and eventually closed down in 2002. In 1992 there was huge riot/massacre which occurred inside of it where 111 prisoners were killed due to the uprising. Among other major problems within this prison which held up to 8,000 inmates at a time was a huge AIDS epidemic, which is another reason it was destroyed.

16. Carandiru Penitentiary

 

 

17. Tadmor Prison

The Tadmor Prison is located in Tadmor which is in the deserts of Syria, 200 kilometers from Damascus. The prison originally was meant to be a military detention facility, however during the 1980’s they began housing all sorts of criminals inside. In 1980 President Hafez al-Assad ordered the killing of all prisoners inside which left the death toll near 2,400. The prison was shut down in 2001 however its doors opened back up in 2011.

17. Tadmor Prison

 

 

18. ADX Florence Supermax Prison

The ADX Florence Supermax Prison is said to house the most dangerous criminals in the United States. Located in Fremont County, Colorado it has a population of just 439 inmates currently but has the tightest security in the country. Many inmates here commit suicide due to the complete isolation from everyone and everything including other inmates as well as guards. The Alcatraz of the Rockies first opened its doors in 1994.

18. ADX Florence Supermax Prison

 


At ADX, the only supermax in the federal prison system, human isolation has been raised to an art. The location alone is desolate enough: On a road outside the tiny town of Florence, on a cleared patch of red-brown high desert turf, lies a razor-wire-fenced compound dotted with signs that read “No trespassing, 24-hour surveillance.” This is the Florence Federal Correctional Complex, which includes medium and maximum-security facilities as well as the world-famous ADX.- Solitary Watch


 

 

19. La Sabaneta

La Sabeneta is located in Venezuela and is considered one of the world’s worst prisons. It is one of the most brutal correctional facilities in South America which is why inmates want to leave as soon as they are sent here. There are many diseases which run rampant inside and there is little to no care given to the inmates. The combination of that and the facility being understaffed causes many violent crimes to occur inside of it.

19. La Sabaneta

 

 

20. Diyarbakır Prison

Diyarbakir Prison in southeastern Turkey was built in 1980. Since then it has imprisoned many of that nation’s most violent criminals which is why it is one of the worst in the world. This prison is known for dishing out not just physical torture to it’s inmates but mental as well. The are two sections within the facility; the E-Type which has a capacity of 744 prisoners and the D-Type with a 688 capacity however both currently hold more than it should.

20. Diyarbakır Prison

Sources: memolition and other sources

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