25 Most Dangerous Prisons in the World

In this article, we will take a look at the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of these prisons, and go directly to the 5 Most Dangerous Prisons in the World.

Movies like The Shawshank Redemption, Escape Plan, and Escape from Alcatraz do not even come close to what actually happens behind bars. In this article, we are going to share with you a list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a “safe prison”. Unfortunately, we will not be mentioning those in this list. In “correctional facilities” where riots are common practice, murder and rape are normalized, and torture is something carried out for kicks, we have the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world. The notion behind prisons is to serve as a rehabilitation center for those who have been misled or have gone astray. Nobody is born a criminal, certain events bring out the darkness and evil in a person that makes them a “monster”.

Many prisons around the world suffer from overcrowding, as you will read on to find that cells meant to contain only 10 inmates have been reported to hold over 100 inmates at a single time. One would think that the prison staff would be harsh with inmates, but who knew that the degree of harshness would be so high that these very officers would inflict torture, rape, and murder inmates due to their very own sadist persona. In some prisons, the guards were not the problem but in fact, the detainees were. The MS-13 gang is notorious for being part of the most violent and dangerous prison riots in history, killing officers and inmates like insects.

However, prisons all over the world are going through drastic changes as governments are forced to increase transparency and curtail torture and human rights violations. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to curtail the federal government’s use of private prisons. This order is expected to affect prison REITs like Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW) and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO).

On the other hand, prisons in the US are upgrading their facilities through advanced reconnaissance technologies and AI. A key player in this domain is Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR). In 2018, it was reported that the company had provided the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with a predictive policing system. Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), a silicon valley company, did not just stick to the states for its data analytics services but extended its reach to the Danish and Israeli governments as well. In 2016 Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR) signed an 84-month contract with the Danish national police and intelligence services.

To compile this list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world, we scoured Reddit forums, Quora discussions, documentaries on YouTube, and articles published by reputable newspapers. We looked up the most brutal prison incidents that took place in history and found more information about those prisons.

With this context in mind, let’s now dive into our list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world. Brace yourselves to learn about what actually goes on behind bars, and how movies sugarcoat the disturbing reality of prison.

25 Most Dangerous Prisons in the World

25. Gldani Prison, Georgia

The Gldani Prison was once a place where torture was normal. On 18 September 2012, Georgian national TV channels released video footage that contained recordings of inmates being raped, tortured, and beaten by the prison staff. The worldwide broadcast was met with protests being orchestrated by students and citizens of Georgia. Orders were issued to prosecute and convict guards that were guilty of torturing and abusing human rights. A “zero tolerance for violation of human rights” policy was issued by the government.

24. Camp 22, North Korea

The Hoeryong concentration camp, or camp 22, was a prison in North Korea that is reported to have been closed in 2012. Camp 22 had been a site of human rights violation, human experimentation, and sadistic abuse. The North Korean government always denied its existence. The conditions at Camp 22 were some of the worst ever witnessed, with over 1500-2000 people dying only from malnutrition every year, mostly including children.

Inmates were victims of torture that included hanging torture, water torture, box room torture, and kneeling torture. They were also experiments of inexperienced medical officers who would practice surgical procedures on them and in most cases, kill them.

As calls for transparency increase, prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW) and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) will be forced to take measures to adapt to new governmental policies, especially in the US.

23. San Quentin Prison, USA

The oldest prison in the state of California that has been home to a disturbing number of serial killers and rapists, San Quentin is the only prison in California to have a gas chamber and death row. On the 25th of January, 2006, a death row prisoner cut a guard’s arm to the bone when he was being uncuffed. In the February of 2006, over 100 inmates were injured as a result of racially motivated attacks. Violence has been and will be an issue at San Quentin, no matter how many guards there are, this prison will remain one of the most dangerous prisons in the world.

22. Black Dolphin Prison, Russia

Home to the most brutal criminals in Russia including, serial killers, terrorists, rapists, cannibals, and pedophiles, Black Dolphin Prison is a Russian correctional facility. Guards move inmates between buildings by bending them over, grabbing their handcuffed hands behind their back, and having them blindfolded so they cannot devise escape plans or attack prison staff.

Inmates are only allowed 90 minutes of exercise a day, apart from that, they are not allowed to lay down or even sit on their bunks for 16 hours of wake time. With an average of 5 people per inmate, its 700 residents have killed a total of 3500 people, putting Black Dolphin Prison at 22 on the list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

21. ADX-Florence Supermax Facility, USA

A supermax prison offers a higher level of custody and surveillance as compared to a maximum-security prison. ADX-Florence Supermax Facility is located in Colorado and is known for holding some of the worst criminals in history in custody, therefore earning the reputation of being one of America’s toughest prisons. ADX is escape-proof and houses 344 prisoners as of July 2021. Inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours and are kept under surveillance 24/7.

20. Arthur Road Jail, India

Also known as Mumbai Central Prison, Arthur Road Jail is Mumbai’s largest and oldest prison that is known for being highly understaffed and overcrowded. Gang wars that have led to the injury and even deaths of inmates have become a routine practice behind the bars of Arthur Road Jail. The prison was originally designed to accommodate about 800 inmates but houses 0ver 2000 inmates, abusing its capacity and adding to the motivations of its inmates to adopt violent measures.

19. HMP Belmarsh, UK

This is one of the 3 maximum-security facilities in England. A diverse range of men have been incarcerated at Belmarsh, the most common inmates being those who were convicted of terrorism. Even though the prison provides facilities to inmates that include education, physical fitness, and workshops, it is still a place ridden with prison violence. This inspection report suggests that the level of violence has only increased since the last inspection conducted, with a total of 49 assaults attempted on staff and 58 on other inmates, making HMP Belmarsh one of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

The need for prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW) and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) can be observed here. The violence at HMP Belmarsh will only worsen if security and surveillance systems are not deployed.

18. Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey

Diyarbakir prison is known for its inhumane practices and human rights abuse. The violent conditions with Diyarbakir come more from the side of the prison staff as opposed to violence from inmates. Mehmet Siddik Mese is only one of the unfortunate who has done time at Diyarbakir, and many like him have lost their lives here. Between the years 1981 and 1984, a total of 34 inmates lost their lives as a result of torture, suicide, or being beaten to death. In 1996, an incident occurred which led to the passing of 10 inmates and injuries to 23 inmates at the hands of the prison staff.

As calls for transparency increase, prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW), and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) will be forced to take measures to adapt to new governmental policies, especially in the US.

17. Bang Kwang Central Prison, Thailand

Bang Kwang Central Prison is a maximum-security correctional facility in Thailand, roughly 11 kilometers north of Bangkok. New inmates are made to wear leg-irons for the first three months of their sentence, and death row inmates are required to have leg irons permanently welded on. There is an internal class system that has the poorer of the inmates do chores for the wealthy in exchange for food.

16. Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Kenya

Kamiti is a maximum-security detention facility in Kenya, that houses Kenyan prisoners who are known for going through inhumane treatment and living in conditions that are deemed unfit for human survival. The scarcity of resources, overcrowding, and hot weather conditions results in the development of violent behaviors within prisoners, making this place one of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

15. La Sante Prison, France

One of the most infamous prisons in France, La Sante prison has had numerous riots, executions, and escapes. Inmates are allowed to shower only twice a week and cells lack proper ventilation, it does not come as a surprise that inmates develop various health issues due to these absurd living conditions. In 1999, La Sante witnessed suicides of a little over 100 inmates. The prison system has developed an internal class system that makes living conditions worse for the lower class inmates.

14. Muhanga Prison, Rwanda

Formerly known as Gitarama prison, Muhanga prison is notorious for being dangerously overcrowded and for its inhumane conditions. It has also reported cases of cannibalism, the adverse living conditions paired with overcrowding are drivers for inmates being hungry for each other’s flesh, quite literally. This is the only prison that has reported cases of cannibalism on our list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

13. Riker’s Island Prison, USA

Riker’s Island gained fame in the 1990s for its violent conditions. Inmates are reported to have said that the prison is tougher than the toughest streets in New York. Stabbings, murders, assaults went unaccounted for, the prison was run by corrupt officers who used certain inmates as “enforcers”.

In 2008, investigations were started circling rumors related to an “inmate fight club”. Later that year, an 18-year old inmate was beaten to death by other teenage inmates while the prison staff stood there and did nothing to break up the brawl. In 2009, orders were issued to send in SWAT teams to break up riots and regularly search cells for homicide weapons. That year, Riker’s became one of the strictest prisons in the United States, when the number of stabbings fell from 1000 to 70.

12. Ciudad Barrios Prison, El Salvador

The Ciudad Barrios Prison is located in El Salvador and has exclusively housed members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, more commonly known as the MS-13. The prison is one of the most violent prisons in the country without a doubt, with the governing body being the inmates themselves, who are cold-blooded individuals that even the prison staff dare not mess with. The prison has a prisoner-guard ratio of 50 to 1, which makes it stand at number 12 on our list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

The inmates run their own bakeries and healthcare centers, they are heavily tattooed with gang signs and are constantly involved in fights which result in many of the less fortunate being beaten to death.

Prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW), and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) need to deploy their systems in order to eradicate this internal government that has overpowered those who are supposed to have authority.

11. La Modelo, Columbia

La Modelo is based in Bogota, Columbia. The prison consists of two wings, the north wing that holds the left-wing rebels and the south wing holds the right-wing government supporters. The space between the wings is the battleground where the killings take place. The prison staff does not carry weapons inside the prison, even though the inmates have access to firearms and explosives. In the March of 2020, a riot broke out within the prison due to fear of the Covid-19 pandemic being spread. That riot caused 23 deaths and 83 injuries.

10. The Penitentiary of New Mexico (PNM), USA

PNM is a men’s maximum-security correctional facility located about 15 miles south of central Santa Fe. The prison has three separate facilities that are known as level II, level V, and level VI. The level VI facility is a supermax site that houses death row inmates and criminals that pose greater threats to other inmates, prison staff, and even national security. The prison has been the witness to the most violent prison riot in the history of the U.S., the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot in 1980, when inmates took control over the entire prison and took 12 officers hostage. 33 inmates were killed in this riot. PNM cemented its place at number 10 in our list of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

Prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW), and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) are seeing an increasing demand of their solutions to tackle the problems of prisons.

9. Anísio Jobim (Compaj) Penitentiary, Brazil

Anísio Jobim Penitentiary is a prison in Brazil, which saw one of the most brutal prison riots anyone has ever seen. The inmates did not riot due to poor living conditions, officers were not the target, rival gang members were.  The riot took place on January 1st of 2017, between two factions, The Family of the North and The First Command of the Capital. The riot resulted in 56 inmates losing their lives at the expense of being tortured first then decapitated.

8. Mendoza Prison, Argentina

The Mendoza Prison is located in Argentina and is notorious for its harsh living conditions. Inmates are forced to squeeze themselves in cells of 4 square meters each. They sleep on the floor without any mattresses, defecate in plastic bags, and urinate in bottles. These living conditions have caused Mendoza Prison to become a site for riots. 22 inmates lost their lives in the prison between February 2004 and November 2005.

7. Attica Correctional Facility, USA

Attica Correctional Facility is a maximum-security prison located in Attica, New York. It has been home to some of the worst criminals in the history of America and has been a site of prison violence. One of the worst riots took place in 1971 when the prison’s residents overpowered prison staff and took 42 staff members hostage. The riot ended after 4 days, and 43 lives were lost of which 33 were convicts and the rest were prison staff. It is not a surprise to see Attica among the top 10 of the 25 most dangerous prisons in the world.

As calls for transparency increase, prison and surveillance companies like Palantir Technologies Inc (NYSE: PLTR), Corecivic Inc (NYSE: CXW) and The GEO Group Inc (NYSE: GEO) will be forced to take measures to adapt to new governmental policies, especially in the US.

6. Butyrka Prison, Russia

Russia is notorious for giving a hard time to people who are a menace to society. Butyrka Prison is located in central Moscow and is the largest of Moscow’s remand prisons. Not only is overcrowding an issue here, with cells meant to contain only 10 inmates being stuffed with over 100 inmates, but the prison also has a majority of health concerns associated with its name, with tuberculosis and HIV being primary diseases.

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Disclosure: None. 25 Most Dangerous Prisons in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

Correction: The article’s ranking was corrected on August 10 at 4:53 PM.