Top 15 Worst Prisons in the World

Most of us agree that they should lock up and punish the criminals for the atrocities they have committed. Some of them they put in the worst prisons in the world. These people are dangerous to society and they should keep them away. But what if the sentence that they are serving is too inhumane even for them.

There are prisons out there whose inmate’s conditions are so bad starting with mental torture, terrible hygiene, and health care all the way to murder. What’s more, most of these prisons never release any of their prisoners. This means that once they step into one of these, they are never coming out alive. This kind of environment brings the inmates to a state of madness which often results in some of them committing suicide. Here is the list of the top 15 worst prisons in the world you wouldn’t want to step foot in let alone be a prisoner of.

#1 Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey

Diyarbakir Prison, built-in 1980 in Diyarbakir, Turkey, is one of the worst prison facilities in the world. The conditions in this prison are so bad that prisoners have tried all kinds of protests from hunger strikes to even setting themselves on fire to draw attention to how bad the conditions under which they lived were and how badly they needed help. The tortures included physical harm, water and food deprivation, sexual humiliation and assault, electric shocks, and more.

In addition to that, there were too many prisoners in the facility. They created it to hold 688 inmates at most but when the Human Rights Commission in the GNAT paid a visit to the prison in 1998, it was accommodating 942 prisoners. Two years before that 10 inmates died and 23 were injured due to an incident where guards severely beat them up. That is just one more reason why this prison is one of the worst prisons in the world.

#2 La Sabaneta, Venezuela

La Sabaneta is one of the most crowded prisons out there. Even though its capacity is 700 inmates at most, it holds over 3700 prisoners. This results in the spread of various diseases and violence among the inmates. The prison is also understaffed with a 150:1 ratio which further contributes to the violence in the prison. As a result of this, the prison is pretty much ruled by gangs that have more power or money. The riots here are also a very common occurrence. One of these riots broke out on January 3rd, 1994. and caused the death of over 150 inmates. What’s even worse is that not the gang members but the prison staff were the ones to commit the murders of these people. More than 69 Sabaneta prisoners died in 2013 which led to it being permanently shut down.

#3 Gitarama Prison, Rwanda

Speaking of overcrowded prisons, Gitarama prison is the one we should mention. They designed it to hold a maximum of 400 prisoners but it holds over 7000 inmates. As a result of this, prisoners are forced to stand all day long. The floors are incredibly dirty which causes many of the inmates to get all kinds of diseases. The consequences are that too many of them are forced to amputate their feet. The situation gets even worse when many of these ill prisoners don’t get the medical help that they need. This results in around six deaths a day.

#4 San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru

San Juan de Lurigancho in Lima, Peru is another prison that is way too overcrowded. Even though they designed it to hold 2500 inmates at most, it holds over 6700 prisoners. This is one of the worst prisons in South America when it comes to not only being way too overcrowded but also being extremely dangerous. There have been numerous cases of all sorts of crimes including dealing, rape, and even murder. What makes it even worse is that guards don’t pay too much attention to what is going on inside. In the 1986 riot, 90 inmates lost their lives. That shows further how bad the situation at this prison is.

#5 United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX), USA

This prison, also known as Alcatraz of the Rockies, Supermax, or ADX Florence is one of the most guarded prisons in the world. But that is not what makes it the toughest one. The inmates inside this prison are held in separate 7-by-12 foot concrete cells. These small rooms contain concrete furniture with an incredibly thin mattress on the top. Their windows are also minimum in size. They receive their food through a small metal door and guards allow them to go out of the cell only once a day for one hour. Several security guards keep an eye on the prisoners during their time outside. Such isolation results in many of these prisoners going mad and even committing suicide.

Worst prisons in the world

#6 Rikers Island Prison, USA

Rikers Island Prison in New York is one of the toughest prisons and is home to some of the most dangerous criminals in the United States. The prison personnel treats the prisoners here of all ages horribly. When they had beaten Cristopher Robinson, an 18-year-old prisoner, to death the public found out about “The Program”. The Program is a secret society of inmates led by security guards. As shocking as it may seem, they ordered this group of inmates to beat up other prisoners to maintain order.

#7 Camp 22, North Korea

If you think political prisons are a matter of history, you should definitely find more about Camp 22 in North Korea. The official name is Kwan-li-so No. 22. Camp 22 is actually like a concentration camp or political prison, usually for persons who spoke badly about the government. This one is without a doubt on the list of the worst prisons in the world. This prison houses around 50 000 people. Sometimes they detain whole families for the crime of one family member.

They serve life sentences and live under unbelievable conditions. They force prisoners to do physical work. Approximately, prisoners work for even 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and only have peace of bread and a little bit of water. The Camp is operating since 1965, but it was only recently when satellite photography of the facility surfaced and revealed the terrible truth. It is only one of estimated 30 concentration camps in this country.

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#8 El Rodeo, Venezuela

Another inhumane prison in Venezuela to add to the list is definitely El Rodeo. Around 50 000 worst criminals in the country serve in this prison. Violence in every form is not strange for prisoners here. Gang wars are the main characteristic of the prison and even required the assistance of armed forces in the past in order to end it.

#9 Gldani Prison, Tbilisi, Georgia

When you hear about attacks among prisoners, it is quite understandable and not so surprising. But, in Gldani Prison in Georgia, the main problem is with the prison guards. They tend to attack prisoners, torture them, assault them, and sometimes even rape them. Prisoners housed here are helpless and hopeless. Aside from the problems with the prison guards, they also face problems with poor healthcare and overcrowding. They even face problems with tuberculosis.

#10 Nairobi Prison, Kenya

No prison is a 5-star hotel, but Nairobi Prison in Kenya doesn’t get even one star. Functioning for more than 100 years, this prison houses four times the number of prisoners anticipated. They sleep in so-called cages, live in dirt, and are experiencing many diseases. What is even more, they are also victims of inhumane treatment by prisoner guards. This is a great example of how the worst prisons in the world function.

Worst prisons in the world

#11 Carandiru Penitentiary, Brazil

They actually closed this prison in 2002 but the happenings that led to its closure freeze the blood in the veins. Ten years before the closure, in 1992, there was a violent massacre. 111 prisoners lost their lives. This horrible event opened the eyes of the world towards this problematic prison. Since then, many studies were written and even movies made about the subject of scary Brazilian prisons. Even before the massacre, this prison did not really set the best example for how you should treat prisoners. Some sources say that 1 in 5 inmates was diagnosed with HIV. Some of the prisoners would have surgeries without anesthesia. Not the kind of experience anyone would really want.

#12 Mendoza Prison, Argentina

When you think things cannot get worse, Mendoza Prison in Argentina adds to the list of worst prisons in the world. These prisoners only get medical help if they are already dying. Inhumane conditions under which these people live are hard to even discuss. Three times more prisoners live in the facility than it should actually be. Five inmates share the cell that is four square meters. Can you imagine not even having a functional toilet? Neither can we, but these people use plastic bags and bottles as their washrooms! Not just that prisoners face unfair treatment from the prison guards, but also their families. Unimaginable and inhumane.

#13 San Quentin State Prison, USA

If you ever wondered where they put the worst criminals in the USA put, we have the answer for you. San Quentin State Prison is one of the oldest ones in the state of California. The most famous law offenders that spent their lives here are Sirhan Sirhan, charged for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, cult leader Charles Mason and Scott Peterson, known for the murder of his pregnant wife and their unborn son. This is the only facility in California that has a gas chamber. However, the only death penalties performed in this prison were by lethal injections. In the 1930s, San Quentin had quite a bad reputation regarding corruption and interracial riots. The situation was somewhere improved. Still, in 2006, there were several racially motivated attacks. The results of such intolerance were injuries of 100 inmates and the death of two of them.

#14 La Sante Prison, Paris, France

One more infamous prison in Europe is in Paris. What makes La Sante Prison extremely notorious is the number of suicides and the way they are committed. It is crazy to even think about people taking chemicals, drain cleaners, and such liquids to end their suffering in the prison. In 1999 the number of suicides was 124. A few years later, the number was 73. It is an enormous suicide rate for one prison such as La Sante. Prisoners also face problems with the hierarchy that makes some prisoners more powerful than others. Can you even imagine how awful the conditions and the treatment are when the most painful suicide is still a better option?

#15 Alcatraz Island Prison, California, USA

There is no other way to finish this list but to mention the famous Alcatraz Island Prison. The government shut down this notorious prison in 1963 because of the high costs of maintenance and of course, its horrible reputation. However, people will never forget scary stories about its prisoners and conditions. Alcatraz was the home for the worst of the worst criminals. They would transfer to Alcatraz those who would make problems in other prisons. As the prison is on the island, it is impossible to escape. Still, many tried. In May 1946, the famous “Battle of Alcatraz” has taken place, with many prisoners trying to violently escape this frightening place.

Many of the famous criminals were housed in this facility. One of them is Al Capone, also known as Scarface, famous for profiting during Prohibition-era and very ruthless approach to his enemies. Many movies were made about Alcatraz Island Prison and its inmates. There is information that producers spent $500,000 restoring a part of the prison for the filming of “Escape from Alcatraz”.

Worst prisons in the world

This concludes our list of the 15 worst prisons in the world. Some of them are more famous for their brutality, and some are doing all the bad things behind the curtains. Throughout history, governments closed many of these prisons, but it is unarguable that these inhumane conditions have strong tradition even in modern world prisons. Serving your time for committing a crime is without fail. However, being physically and mentally tortured, starved, or sometimes even murdered is a very inhumane practice inside of many prisons. You must admit that after reading all this, even small crimes seem a big no-no!


Author: Editorial team