The outside world is a dangerous place, making criminal justice vitally important to a healthy society. The hope of any criminal justice system is to reform a criminal character, but housing society’s most dangerous individuals together makes a prison’s violent atmosphere an inevitability. Nobody wishes to end up in prison, especially in one where you are likely to face cruel conditions, get tortured or even killed by either your fellow inmates or the staff. There exists plenty of such prisons, designed to rob even the most optimistic people of their very soul. It is hard to figure out why such places exist, or how evil some people are that such places are needed to contain them. Here are the world’s top ten worst prisons where inmates fight daily for their sanity and their very survival.
10 – San Quentin Prison, California
The prison was established in 1852 and is the oldest prison in California. The prison has a gas chamber but executions there are only performed by lethal injection. Even with a large staff of prison guards, violence is a continual issue. The prison is also known for its poor living conditions, and a report carried out in 2005 stated that it was dangerous to house people there.
9 – Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand
“The Bangkok Prison” is the nickname given to this prison in Thailand. It is, however, far from a place anyone would want to stay. Inmates are housed in tiny cells and tortured on a regular basis. Those who are on death row are notified of their impending doom as little as two hours before their execution.
8 – Gitarama Prison, Rwanda
Originally designed to house 400 inmates, this prison is now filled with over 6000 prisoners. The food provided to the prisoners is so scarce that they have been reported to kill and eat fellow inmates out of desperation and stress. Most of the inmates held here are those who have committed genocide-related crimes.
7 – La Sante Prison, France
The conditions in this prison are so notoriously inhumane that many prisoners have committed suicide over serving their sentence there. Inmates have been known to swallow forks, rat poison, and even drain cleaners. 1999 saw 124 prisoners take their lives. The conditions in the prison are so pervasive that the inmates are out of their cells for only four hours a day.
6 – Rikers Island Prison, New York
This prison is well known for prisoner violence. The guards are always in fear due to the beatings and murders they witness on a daily basis. This history of violence led to several reform actions being introduced, now making it one of the strictest prisons in the world.
5 – ADX-Florence Supermax Facility, Colorado
ADX-Florence is designed to hold the worst prisoners. Most of its inmates are held in near round-the-clock solitary confinement. A lawsuit filed in June 2012 by several inmates charges that the prison’s conditions create an environment for abuse and torture of inmates.
4 – Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey
Diyarbakir Prison is well known for incarcerating children for lifelong sentences in the past. The prison’s violent nature seems to be more from the prison guards than the prisoners themselves. In 1996, police and prison guards beat prisoners severely, resulting in the death of ten inmates and the injury of 23.
3 – La Sabaneta Prison, Venezuela
This facility is designed to hold 15,000 prisoners, but it now houses over 25,000 prisoners. The prison is greatly understaffed, which results in numerous violent incidences among inmates. In 1994 and 1995, a violent gun battle resulted in the death of 108 and 196 prisoners.
2 – Tadmor Prison, Syria
According to Amnesty International, every aspect of Tadmor Military Prison was designed to dehumanise its inhabitants. It was shut down in 2001 but reopened in 2011, and it is no less brutal today.
1 – Carandiru Penitentiary, South America
This prison located in Brazil is arguably the worst prison in the world. It is known for terrible health conditions, with nearly one in every five inmates being diagnosed with HIV. In 1992, a violent massacre occurred where 102 prisoners were shot dead.