Prisons were built to punish the law-breakers and keep criminals aware from the outside world. But what really goes down there varies from prison to prison depending on the methods of enforcement. But the process and hierarchy in prison facilities often go for a toss, thanks to the corrupt compliance, guards, murderers, rapists, cannibals, and other criminals. Here we take a look at the most horrible prisons in the world that have often been described as hellholes. Some prisons are built specifically to house the world’s most dangerous criminals who pose gravest threats to the society.
Top 10 most horrible prisons in the world
In many cases, the terrible conditions inside facilities are created by the prison staff, making the punishment far worse than the crime prisoners committed. In other cases, the prisoners take it upon themselves to turn the prisons into living pits of chaos. These are the most horrible prisons in the world.
10- Black Dolphin Prison, Russia
The Black Dolphin Prison has been the subject of a National Geographic documentary. It houses some of the worst murderers, cannibals, pedophiles, and rapists in Russia. The prison staff force the prisoners to stand all day in one spot – they are not allowed to sit or rest until it’s time to sleep. The wardens also blindfold them and hold them in stress positions while transporting. The prisoners are terrorized by dogs, forced to sleep without covering their eyes with anything in brightly lit cells.
9- La Sante Prison, Paris, France
La Sante is said to be so brutal that many prisoners prefer to commit suicide instead of serving their sentence there. According to a former prison official named Veronique Vasseur, La Sante is a hellhole where prisoners are locked in concrete cells full of lice and rats. Physically weaker inmates are often enslaved by the stronger ones. Suicides and rapes are common occurrences. A staggering 124 prisoners committed suicide in 1999, another 122 killed themselves in 2002, and roughly 150 committed suicide in 2003. Human rights activists have blamed horrible living conditions for the suicides.
8- Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey
The Diyarbakir Prison accommodates some of the most notorious criminals in Turkey. The prison staff is known for torturing prisoners physically and mentally – once killing 10 prisoners and injuring 23 in a single incident. The prison holds far more prisoners than its capacity, leading to overcrowding. It has incarcerated little children for lifelong sentences. Its “crimes against humanity” make it one of the most horrible prisons in the world.
7- Carandiru Penitentiary, Brazil
This Brazilian jail opened almost a century ago, though it began housing the first prisoners only in 1956. It was closed in 2002. It was the most violent prison of its time. In 1992, riots broke out in the prison. More than a hundred inmates were massacred by the prison staff in the riots. The prison was shut down in 2002 due to the rampant spread of AIDS among inmates and gross human rights violations. According to an estimate, more than 1,300 inmates have died in there.
6- ADX Florence Supermax, Colorado
The ADX Florence Supermax Prison houses the most dangerous criminals in the United States. Currently, it has only about 450 inmates, but it has the tightest security of any prison in the country. The inmates are isolated from the guards, and are forced to live in barren cells 23 hours a day. The US government built it in response to violent attacks on the prison staff by inmates. The prisoners housed here have the worst track records with a history of murders, rapes and other crimes. Over the years, many inmates have killed themselves due to complete isolation. Former warden Robert Hood described it as “a cleaner version of Hell.”
5- Petak Island Prison, Vologda, Russia
This prison holds the most dangerous criminals in Russia. The guards use various physical and mental stress techniques to break down the prisoners. The inmates spend 22.5 hours a day in tiny two-man rooms. They are allowed only two visitors per year. The toilet facilities are also said to be terrible. The prison is surrounded by the freezing cold waters of White Lake. As a result, the inmates can’t even dream of escaping. Prison psychologist Svetlana Kiselyova said, “This place destroys people” physically, mentally, and psychologically.
4- Rikers Island Prison, New York
Rikers Island Prison has a proven track record of prisoner violence. The inmates are stabbed, beaten, and tortured by the prison staff. Many inmates have committed suicide by hanging themselves with bedsheets, just to avoid being tortured. It is one of the world’s strictest prisons and the third largest facility in the US. The prison usually holds local offenders with short sentences and those awaiting trial. According to the New York Times, 129 inmates suffered serious injuries at the hands of guards during an 11-month period in 2013.
3- Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand
It is mockingly called as the “Bangkok Hilton.” The prison is insanely overcrowded and understaffed. It has the capacity to hold only about 3,500 inmates, but the actual number of prisoners is almost always close to 10,000. The inmates are often chained in leg irons. If you are to be executed for whatever reason, you are given only a two-hour notice before they inject a lethal injection. The inmates get only one bowl of rice soup a day. It houses both local and foreign prisoners in tiny cells with rat-infested floors. The Bang Kwang Prison is one of the most horrible prisons in the world.
2- La Sabaneta Prison, Maracaibo, Venezuela
La Sabaneta in Venezuela has a reputation for being one of the world’s most brutal correction facilities. A large number of inmates are diseased in this understaffed facility. A cholera outbreak killed more than 700 prisoners. Violence, riots, rape, and torture kill even more inmates. The prison does not allow any activities to release tension, which leads prisoners to express their outrage by breaking the bones of one another on silly issues. Being imprisoned here is more about survival than rehabilitation.
1- Tadmor Prison, Syria
Tadmor Prison is located in the deserts of Syria. It was originally a military detention facility. But the authorities began to accommodate all kinds of criminals in this prison in the 1980s. In 1980, President Hafez al-Assad ordered the guards and police to execute 2400 prisoners in a single day. The guards murder inmates with axes or force them to starve to death. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most horrible prisons. It was shut down in 2001, but reopened in 2011.