Most Dangerous Prison in the World

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About 10.77 million individuals reside in penal institutions in different countries worldwide, according to 2021 data. Of this number, about two million prisoners are in the United States.

Overcrowding is one cause of prison violence. However, other factors, like insufficient staff training, insecure facilities, excessive solitary confinement, and inmates with mental health issues, can also contribute to violent living conditions in prison.

What are the most dangerous prisons worldwide? What country has the scariest correctional facility? Are there any prisons where the worst inmates reside?

This article lists down the most dangerous prisons in the world and provides a brief description of these correctional facilities and the inmate’s living conditions. This article also discusses the worst prisoners and where they are incarcerated. strives to provide its users with a quick and convenient way to search for incarcerated individuals across the United States. This online inmate lookup tool provides access to inmate records from more than 7,000 U.S. correctional facilities.

Which Is the Deadliest Prison in the World?

There is no single criterion that determines which prison is the deadliest or most dangerous in the world.

Several factors, such as prison populations, staff training, inmate health, injuries, deaths, and prison security level, can influence how individuals perceive a particular penitentiary’s safety and risk.

With these factors in mind, various prisons worldwide have characteristics that make these facilities dangerous.

The Most Dangerous Prisons in the World

The following prisons are some of the most dangerous prisons based on the frequency of prison violence, unsafe living conditions, notable inmates, and prison deaths.

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary Island Prison, San Francisco, California

The island prison of Alcatraz, located off the San Francisco coast in California, has been closed for many years. However, when it was still in operation, the prison housed many dangerous criminals.

One of Alcatraz’s notable prisoners was Al Capone, an American gangster known as Scarface. From 1925 to 1931, Capone led organized crimes in Chicago and became one of the most famous gangsters in the U.S.

The prison was also known for prisoners’ violent escape attempts, including the Battle of Alcatraz, a 48-hour incident from May 2 to May 4, 1946.

During the incident, several inmates attempted to escape by overpowering the guards and obtaining firearms. The incident caused the deaths of two correctional officers and three escapees. Dozens of guards also got injured, while several inmates escaped.

Alcatraz closed on March 21, 1963, due to its high maintenance costs. Today, the prison is one of San Francisco’s famous tourist attractions.

Anísio Jobim (COMPAJ) Penitentiary, Brazil

Complex Penitentiary Anísio Jobim (COMPAJ) is a prison in Manaus, Brazil. The facility is known for one of the most brutal prison riots that caused the deaths of multiple prisoners.

The riot took place on January 1, 2017. According to reports, the inmates did not riot due to poor living conditions and did not target prison officers. Instead, the fighting occurred between two factions, the Family of the North (Família do Norte) and the First Command of the Capital (Primeiro Comando da Capital).

The incident caused the deaths of 56 inmates, some due to decapitation. 

A separate prison break from a nearby Manaus prison also occurred, which authorities suspected may be connected to the COMPAJ riots.

Arthur Road Jail, India

Arthur Road Jail, also called Mumbai Central Prison, is Mumbai’s largest and oldest prison, known for being overcrowded and understaffed.

Prison gang wars were a routine occurrence in Arthur Road Jail, which led to the injury and death of several inmates.

Although the government initially designed the prison to accommodate 800 inmates, it houses more than 2,000 prisoners. This overcapacity likely adds to the inmates’ motivations to adopt violent measures.

Attica Correctional Facility, New York

Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, is a maximum security prison where some of the worst criminals in America reside.

The facility was also a site of prison violence, including one significant riot in 1971, when inmates overpowered the prison guards and took 42 staff members hostage.

After four days, the riot ended with 43 casualties. Thirty-three of those who died were convicts, while the rest were prison staff.

Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand

Bang Kwang Prison, nicknamed the Bangkok Hilton, is located in Bangkok, Thailand. This men’s prison was constructed in 1930 at the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi Province, about seven miles north of Bangkok.

The prison houses many foreign inmates. It is a harsh prison that handles death row and long-sentence convicts.

Despite the prison’s alias, people consider the facility an undesirable place to stay. 

The jail is notorious for the routine torture of inmates. Prisoners are crammed in small cells, and death row inmates are notified within only two hours before getting executed.

Black Beach Prison, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Black Beach Prison in Malabo is known for its human rights offenses, including prison guard brutality, overcrowding, inmate malnutrition, and rat infestations.

Prisoners completely disappearing or dying from chronic disease are common occurrences in this facility. Furthermore, inmates constantly live in fear of torture and prolonged beatings, which also caused many deaths.

Hundreds of prisoners often end up locked away in Black Beach Prison for years without receiving visits from their lawyers and families. The relatives of these inmates may not even know whether these prisoners are alive or dead.

Black Dolphin Prison, Russia

Black Dolphin Prison is a correctional facility home to many violent criminals, including terrorists, serial killers, pedophiles, rapists, and cannibals.

Prison guards typically transfer inmates between buildings by bending the prisoners over, handcuffing their hands behind their backs, and blindfolding them so they cannot attack prison staff or devise escape plans.

Inmates are only permitted 90 minutes of exercise daily. Other than that, they cannot sit or lay down on their bunks for 16 hours of wake time.

Each prisoner in Black Dolphin Prison has killed an average of five individuals. That ratio means the 700 prisoners have killed about 3,500 people (700 x 5 = 3,500), making this prison among the most dangerous prisons worldwide based on victims killed.

Butyrka Prison, Russia

Butyrka Prison, also called Butyrskaya Prison, is in the Tverskoy district in central Moscow and is the largest of the city’s remand prisons.

A remand prison is a facility for holding an inmate who is awaiting a trial.

Overcrowding is one of the main issues in Butyrka prison, with cells meant to accommodate only 10 inmates crammed with over 100 prisoners.

The prison also faces health concerns that affect its inmates. Tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the primary diseases in this prison.

Camp 1391, Northern Israel

Camp 1391, also called Facility 1391 or Unit 1391, is a prison camp in Northern Israel for high-risk prisoners. The facility, run by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is about an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.

Before 2003, the public did not know of the prison’s existence, and most information about the camp remained classified. However, Israel’s supreme court ordered the release of some information about the jail.

The ultrasecret jail held Arabs in seclusion for years and allegedly tortured inmates. The Israeli military used the prison as an interrogation facility to extract confessions from even the toughest militants. The facility even barred visits by the Red Cross.

One prisoner described the place as having tiny, windowless cells with black walls and nearly no light. The chamber only had a bucket in one corner for a toilet, which wardens would empty once every few weeks.

Camp 22, North Korea

The Hoeryong concentration camp, also called Camp 22, was a prison in North Korea reported having shut down in 2012. There were allegations that the facility was a site of human experimentation, human rights violations, and sadistic abuse.

Conditions at Camp 22 may have been so severe that over 1,500-2,000 prisoners, including children, die from malnutrition every year. Despite these allegations, the North Korean government continued to deny the prison’s existence.

Many inmates were subjected to various punishments, including water, hanging, kneeling, and box room torture.

Inexperienced medical officers also experimented with and practiced surgical procedures on inmates. In most cases, the experiments killed the prisoners.

In 2012, the notorious prison gained international attention after its warden defected to China.

Carandiru Penitentiary, São Paulo, Brazil

Carandiru Penitentiary, officially called São Paulo House of Detention, was a prison in São Paulo, Brazil, South America, and among the largest prisons in Latin America.

The prison houses inmates with severe health problems, with nearly one in five detainees in the prison’s health wing diagnosed with HIV.

A violent prison massacre occurred in 1992 when more than 100 inmates died. Moreover, the government shut the facility down in 2002, following a series of coordinated riots by prisoners in various Brazilian prisons protesting undesirable jail conditions.

Constructed in 1890, Carandiru Penitentiary became so overcrowded in the 20th century that prisoners had to create their own rules.

The prisoners were often malnourished and received inadequate medical care. Some inmates even had transmittable diseases that spread through the prison population.

Drapchi Prison, Tibet

Drapchi Prison is located in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet in China. It is the largest facility in Tibet and is known for brutality and strong management.

Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising, The government overhauled the facility, which was originally a military garrison, into the prison it is now.

If inmates participate in any protest, guards will beat them to death. Prisoners also cannot look at guards the wrong way, or the inmate can get beaten or shot. These reasons are why Drapchi is Tibet’s most feared prison.

Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey

In 1980, Turkey’s Ministry of Justice built Diyarbakir Prison in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. The prison guards used torture as a common tool to force the Kurds to assimilate.

The Kurds are an ethnic group living within the bordering areas of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq in what is generally known as Kurdistan.

Diyarbakir became a martial law military prison after the Turkish coup d’état (attempt to overthrow the government) on September 12, 1980.

Afterward, authorities detained about 650,000 individuals, mostly beaten or tortured. More than 500 of those detainees reportedly died at Diyarbakir.

During the early and mid-1980s, also called the “period of barbarity,” authorities subjected the prisoners in the newly-built Diyarbakir Prison to acts of systematic torture.

Hundreds of testimonies from former inmates spoke of mental and physical abuse, including food, water, sensory, and sleep deprivation. 

Prisoners also reported experiencing Palestinian hangings (hanging by the arms), electric shocks, nail and teeth extraction, and mock executions.

However, superiors rarely confirmed these allegations.

Due to such abuses against Kurdish prisoners, the Kurds formed the Kurdistan workers’ party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or PKK) to fight against the Turkish state.

Today, Diyarbakir is a working prison that continues to be known for numerous human rights violations. In 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey would turn the prison into a cultural center, which received mixed reviews.

Gldani Prison, Tbilisi, Georgia

Gldani Prison in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, drew international attention in 2012 after one of its prison guards revealed prisoner torture occurring in the facility.

The 35-year-old former guard-turned whistleblower publicly disclosed a video showing numerous cases of abuse, such as rape and assault.

The worldwide broadcast caused Georgian students and citizens to orchestrate protests. Eventually, the government issued orders to prosecute and convict guards guilty of torturing and abusing the human rights of the prisoners.

Guantánamo Bay Prison, Cuba

Guantánamo Bay detention camp, also popularly called Gitmo, is a detention facility in the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. 

The U.S. military used the camp to house suspected terrorists and Muslim militants captured by military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The public has widely criticized the facility for detaining individuals without trial and subjecting inmates to routine torture, including waterboarding (torture involving pouring water over a cloth covering the face) and sexual abuse.

Guards also reportedly used nasal and rectal feeding to force-feed detainees on hunger strikes, and there were incidents of suicides and suicide attempts at the facility.

On January 22, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the facility’s closure within one year and a review of how to transfer detainees to the U.S. for trial or imprisonment.

HMP Belmarsh, United Kingdom

Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Belmarsh is one of three maximum security facilities in Thamesmead, southeast London, England. 

The penitentiary has a diverse range of inmates, the most common are people convicted of terrorism.

Although the prison provides inmates with facilities for education, workshop, and physical fitness, HMP Belmarsh is still a place where prison violence is common.

A report by Her Majesty’s (H.M.) chief inspector mentioned that six months before the inspection, there had been 58 assaults attempted on inmates and 49 on prison staff.

The same report mentioned that 31% of prisoners felt unsafe at the time of inspection, while 58% felt unsafe during other times.

Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Nairobi, Kenya

Kamiti Prison, located in Roysambu Constituency in Kenya, is a maximum security facility, which is notorious for its harsh living conditions.

The facility reportedly houses prisoners subjected to inhumane treatment and conditions deemed unfit for human survival.

Overcrowding, hot weather conditions, and scarcity of resources in prison resulted in the inmates developing violent behaviors.

Although Kamiti Prison’s official capacity is 1,200, reports suggest the facility is cramming about 1,800 to 2,500 detainees.

La Modelo, Colombia

La Modelo is a prison in Bogota, Colombia, consisting of two wings: the northern part holds left-wing rebels, while the southern part holds right-wing government supporters.

The area between the wings is where many killings take place. Although prison guards do not carry weapons within the prison, the inmates reportedly can access firearms and explosives.

A riot broke out in March 2020 within the prison due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading. The riot resulted in 23 deaths and 83 injuries.

La Santé Prison, Paris, France

La Santé Prison (Prisión de La Santé) in France is among the most infamous prisons known for numerous riots, escapes, and executions.

The prison’s harsh conditions caused many prisoners to take their own lives. In 1999, 124 prisoners committed suicide.

Violence in La Santé is so pervasive that prisoners only have four hours outside the cell daily.

Inmates can only shower twice a week, and cells have insufficient ventilation, causing prisoners to develop various health issues.

La Santé’s prison system also promotes a hierarchical structure, giving some prisoners more power than others and worsening the conditions of weaker inmates.

Maracaibo National Prison (La Sabaneta Prison), Venezuela

La Sabaneta Prison is located in Maracaibo in Zulia state, Venezuela. In 1994, over 100 people died during a prison gang fight that led to a giant fire. 

Another jail violence in 1995 resulted in the deaths of 196 inmates and injuries of 624 others.

The facility was supposed to hold up to 800 people. However, according to estimates by the Ministry of Justice and National Guard, La Sabaneta housed 2,500 to 3,000 inmates at one point.

Authorities often hold prisoners without a conviction in the facility for long periods. Although inmates in Venezuela should attend their trial within eight months of their arrest, some prisoners spend years inside before getting their day in court.

Guards and other prisoners often target inmates belonging to specific ethnic groups, such as the Guajiro. 

These inmates are usually separated for their safety. However, this segregation does not mean they can escape the prison’s poor conditions that other prisoners also endure.

Guajiro inmates are reportedly often treated harshly, exposed to undesirable conditions, and refused medical treatment.

However, feuding gangs contribute the most to prison violence. In 2013, 15 prisoners died in gang-related fights. Some of these detainees got beheaded or dismembered.

Overall, at least 69 inmates died in 2013. This number made the Venezuelan Prison Observatory director, Humberto Prado, comment that La Sabaneta was the most violent prison in Venezuela.

Prado added that armed inmates are likely running most Venezuelan prisons, and guards have little to no control over the population.

Mendoza Prison, Argentina

Mendoza Prison in Argentina is a severely overcrowded prison with a population three times its capacity. 

As many as five inmates cram into cells that measure only four square meters (43 square feet). Inmates usually sleep on the floor without mattresses.

In 2005, Amnesty International reported that prisoners, numbering 1,600 in a facility meant to house 600 inmates, suffer overcrowding, torture, ill-treatment, and death in some cases.

Prisoners also had inadequate medical care, and the facility had no proper sewage system. This condition forces inmates to use bottles and plastic bags instead of washrooms.

Montelupich Prison, Kraków (Cracow), Poland

Montelupich is a prison considered one of the worst in Poland during Nazi Germany. From 1940 to 1944, around 50,000 prisoners passed through the prison’s walls. Prison guards utilized medieval torture as their main interrogation method.

The Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police, used the prison throughout World War II to incarcerate political prisoners, deserters, British and Soviet spies, and victims of the Gestapo street raids.

After the war, Montelupich became a Soviet prison. The NKVD (Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh del, or People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs), the Soviet Union’s interior ministry, used the jail to torture and murder Polish soldiers from the Home Army.

Muhanga Prison (Gitarama Central Prison), Rwanda

Muhanga Prison, formerly known as Gitarama Prison, is a facility known for its inhumane conditions and dangerously overcrowded population.

The prison also has reported cases of cannibalism, likely due to adverse living conditions and overcrowding, which may drive inmates to hunger for each other’s flesh.

Among the worst prisons in the world, Muhanga Prison is the only facility with reported cases of cannibalism to date.

The prison was meant to accommodate up to 600 inmates. However, reports mentioned the facility housed as many as 6,000 to 7,000 detainees.

Parchman Farm State Penitentiary, Mississippi

The Mississippi State Penitentiary, also called Parchman Farm, is the oldest and only maximum security prison for men in Mississippi

This penitentiary covers about 18,000 acres and has several buildings accommodating 5,000 inmates.

Parchman Farm holds male offenders at all custody levels, such as A and B (minimum and medium-security) and C and D (maximum security). The facility also holds death row inmates and contains the state’s execution chamber.

Pelican Bay State Prison, California

Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSB) has operated since 1989 and sits on 275 acres of land on California’s North Coast. Half of the institution houses maximum security inmates.

The prison has two sections: the general population, where the maximum security prisoners reside, and the security housing unit (SHU), for inmates with severe management issues.

The SHU reportedly has rough conditions that even the most challenging inmates try to maintain good behavior, so they do not spend time on that side of the facility.

There are no windows in the SHU, and inmates spend solitary confinement for long periods with only fluorescent lights for illumination. 

The living conditions in that section of PBSB are comparable to a special division intended to psychologically break the inmate.

Penal De Ciudad Barrios Prison, El Salvador

The Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel, El Salvador, is one of the country’s most violent prisons, where inmates form a governing body that even prison staff do not want to deal with.

There is a 50-to-1 ratio of prisoners to guards in the facility. This scenario creates a shortage of guards, leaving inmates almost free to do whatever they want within the prison.

For instance, prisoners heavily tattooed with gang signs constantly get involved in fights, resulting in many convicts being beaten to death. However, some of these tattooed inmates run businesses, such as bakeries and healthcare centers, within the facility.

The prison holds the members of two famous gangs: the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known as MS-13, and the Barrio 18 gang.

Petak (Pyatak) Island Prison, Vologda, Russia

Petak Island Prison is Russia’s version of Alcatraz due to the prison’s purpose of holding the most dangerous prisoners in isolation by the White Lake.

This facility detains some of Russia’s dangerous criminals, often held in small cells for 20 hours daily and allowed outside contact only once a year. 

These conditions can leave adverse physical and mental conditions on the inmate.

Overall, prisoners do not fear violence from the guards or other inmates. Instead, restricted living and isolation have a more psychologically devastating effect on the detainees.

The facility has no lavatories or washrooms. Being surrounded by snow and freezing water for a long time can cause prisoners to deteriorate and become psychologically depressed.

A prison psychologist mentioned that the place could ruin an inmate’s hope. Given Petak prison’s living conditions, inmates reportedly come out worse than how they came in.

During the first nine months inside, the inmate adapts to solitary and psychological torture. After four to five years, the prisoner’s personality will start declining.

The psychologist also said no one could survive in the prison for 25 years and come out without becoming psychologically ruined.

Rikers Island, New York

Rikers Island in New York is located in the East River, between Queens and the Bronx, and contains New York City’s main prison complex.

In 1991, a correctional officer named John Reyes mentioned witnessing beatings and murders in that jail, and he became afraid every day. 

The facility’s history of violence caused Rikers Island to become one of the world’s strictest prisons.

Several reforms implemented at the prison helped reduce the number of stabbings from 1,000 a year to 70.

San Juan De Lurigancho, Lima, Peru

San Juan de Lurigancho is among the toughest prisons in South America. The facility’s lax environment allows inmates to sell anything marketable, such as gadgets and drugs.

Even cockfighting is an everyday activity, and visiting sex workers acting as nurses is a regular sight within the prison.

Lurigancho lacks guards to control the 7,000 inmates overcrowding the facility. Although its capacity can accommodate 2,500 inmates, the prison now holds 11,500 prisoners within its crumbling walls.

Prisoners are not separated and are often left on their own. This slack environment allows them to wander around the facility and commit various acts of violence.

San Quentin State Prison, California

San Quentin was established in July 1852 as the solution to the state’s rampant lawlessness and is California’s oldest correctional facility.

The prison has detained several notable criminals, including Charles Manson, a cult leader whose followers carried out multiple murders in the 1960s, and Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian citizen who assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

During the 1960s and 1970s, San Quentin earned a reputation for corruption and interracial riots, which the prison guards often encouraged.

The prison had the state’s largest and only death row facility for more than 700 death row inmates and is home to California’s only gas chamber.

In early 2022, the state started processing the closing of death row and relocating of inmates, three years after California’s governor ended executions in the state.

Stanley Prison, Hong Kong

Stanley Prison, built in 1937, is one of Hong Kong’s six maximum security facilities. The prison was a popular execution place before the Hong Kong government removed capital punishment in 1990.

From 1946 to 1966, the government executed 122 criminals on the prison’s gallows (an elevated frame where criminals get hanged). 

During the Japanese occupation, the facility became part of the Stanley internment camp that saw the deaths of 600 prisoners.

Chinese refugees who tried crossing the border also got detained in Stanley Prison, increasing its population to 3,000 and exceeding the prison’s limits.

Tadmor Military Prison, Syria

Amnesty International considered Tadmor military prison the most oppressive facility in the world. Every feature of the facility appears to have been designed to dehumanize the prison population.

In June 1980, Tadmor became infamous when Syria’s then-president Hafez al-Assad ordered all prisoners killed in retaliation for the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempted assassination of his life. 

The massacre reportedly lasted two weeks and around 800 to 2,400 inmates were killed.

Tent City or Maricopa County Prison, Arizona

As its name suggests, Tent City is an outdoor concentration camp located in Maricopa County, Arizona, where inmates live in tents.

The facility has stun fences (a nonlethal electric fence) around the perimeter and K-9 units for additional security.

Due to Arizona’s hot and humid climate, this environment renders Tent City unsuitable for housing inmates, making the place among the worst prisons in the world.

Tent City is composed of Korean war-era military tents and reportedly cost about $80,000 to put up in August 1993. 

Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County said closing the facility should save taxpayers $4.5 million in yearly operating expenses.

Terre Haute, USA

Terre Haute, nicknamed Guantanamo North, is a prison complex in Indiana consisting of maximum, medium, and low-security units. This facility is also the location of the U.S. federal government’s execution chamber.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the terrorist responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, is a death row inmate in Terre Haute.

In October 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Terre Haute of having poor conditions for death row inmates.

The nonprofit organization states that the prison denies medical care and mental health services to prisoners and said the facility subjected the inmates to so much noise, causing sleep deprivation.

In January 2021, Terre Haute had the highest COVID-19 cases within the federal prison system.

On July 1, 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that there would be a moratorium (temporary suspension) on federal executions at Terre Haute. He also said that the Department of Justice would review its policy on capital punishments.

This announcement came after the Trump administration carried out 13 federal executions a few months before President Donald Trump’s term ended.

The Penitentiary of New Mexico (PNM), USA

PNM, located 15 miles south of central Santa Fe, is a maximum security correctional facility for men. The prison has three separate facilities: levels II, V, and VI.

The level VI facility is a supermax prison that houses death row inmates and criminals that poses significant threats to other inmates, prison staff, and national security.

The facility has seen the 1980 New Mexico State Penitentiary riot, the most violent prison riot in U.S. history. 

In this event, inmates held 12 officers hostage and took control of the entire prison. Thirty-three prisoners died during the riot.

El Rodeo Prison, Venezuela

During Hugo Chávez’s presidency, Venezuela saw increased crime rates in the country, leading to overcrowding of the El Rodeo prison in Guatire, Venezuela. As many as 50,000 inmates got detained in this facility.

Gang wars were commonplace within the facility, and correctional officers could not control the harsh conditions that inmates often put upon themselves.

On June 12, 2011, a clash between rival gangs erupted at El Rodeo, resulting in 22 deaths. 

The violence turned into a month-long siege when government forces intervened and assaulted the prison.

United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX Florence) Supermax Prison, Colorado

ADX Florence, also called supermax or the Alcatraz of the Rockies, is the most secure maximum security prison in the United States.

Constructed in 1994, ADX Florence houses some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, including Ramzi Yousef, Zacarias Moussaoui, and Ted Kaczynski.

Yousef is a Kuwaiti terrorist who planned the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Moussaoui is a French citizen of Moroccan descent involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Kaczynski, nicknamed the Unabomber, is an American criminal responsible for a 17-year bombing campaign that killed three people and wounded 23 others.

Inmates in this facility spend 23 hours in solitary confinement each day in 2 x 3.6-meter (7 x 12 feet) concrete cells with tiny windows. 

Prison staff send meals to prisoners through small slots in the cells’ metal doors.

During the prisoners’ one-hour period outside the cell for recreation, they wear several restraints and get escorted by several guards.

Vladimir Central Prison, Russia

Vladimir Central Prison is the largest Russian prison known for detaining political prisoners during the Soviet era.

The facility was built in 1783 in Vladimir, Russia and the overcrowded and disease-infested prison is infamous for the sadistic abuse of its inmates.

Prisoners get forced out of their cells, are ordered to put their hands on the wall, and receive severe beatings to the point that they must get dragged back to their cells. 

In some cases, guards order prisoners to beat each other.

Authorities deny the existence of torture prisons and say that government officials regularly inspect all penal institutions and investigate all complaints. 

However, human rights activists say such prisons exist, which spreads fear and compliance among the prison population.

What Country Has the Scariest Prisons?

There is no definite consensus on which country has the scariest prisons. However, the countries you can consider to have such prisons based on the list in this article include the following:

  • USA: San Quentin State Prison, ADX Florence, Terre Haute
  • Russia: Black Dolphin Prison, Vladimir Central Prison
  • Turkey: Diyarbakir prison
  • Rwanda: Muhanga Prison
  • North Korea: Camp 22
  • Georgia: Gldani Prison
  • Venezuela: La Sabaneta Prison

Where Do the Worst Prisoners Go?

The most violent criminals are taken to maximum security prisons.

The challenge of controlling individuals who are considered the most dangerous, aggressive, antagonistic, and recalcitrant (uncooperative) inmates in a prison system is the driving force behind the design and construction of increasingly secure facilities.

In the United States, ADX Florence is the only federal supermax prison where the country’s most dangerous and escape-prone prisoners reside.

Due to prison staff not trusting ADX inmates with any object that can be broken and made into a weapon, all pieces of cell furniture are fixed and made of concrete. 

These items include a concrete writing desk, chair, and a slab with a thin foam pad serving as a bed.

Brief History of Prisons

The earliest known prisons on record existed since the first millennia B.C., with underground jails located in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Rome. 

The cells in these prisons were so small for humans that inmates must sit in one position or bend over for long periods.

In ancient Greece, although many prisons during this period took the form of underground dungeons, some prisoners are kept in dilapidated buildings that allowed friends and family to visit the inmates. Detainees also wore shackles around their feet.

In those days, the most common punishment for prisoners was slavery or the death sentence. In ancient Rome, slaves known as gladiators get trained to fight and kill for their masters.

Prisons became widespread during World War II. The military would detain people in numerous facilities and later kill the prisoners without trial.

Search for your incarcerated loved ones using’s online inmate search tool. You can search inmate records by jail name, jail type, or state for your convenience.


  1. World Prison Population List: Thirteenth Edition
  2. Prison Violence
  3. Al Capone
  4. Alcatraz
  5. Attica Correctional Facility
  6. The Living Hell of Equatorial Guinea’s Missing Prisoners and Their Families
  7. Remand Prisoner
  8. Carandiru and the Scandal of Brazil’s Medieval Prison System
  9. Kurd
  10. Guantánamo Bay detention camp
  11. Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Belmarsh by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
  12. Argentina: Unacceptable Ill-Treatment in Mendoza Prisons: Memorandum on the Prison Situation in Mendoza Province
  13. Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP)
  14. Letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Demands Substantial Improvements
  15. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Imposes a Moratorium on Federal Executions; Orders Review of Policies and Procedures
  16. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef
  17. The September 11 Commission and Its Findings
  18. Ted Kaczynski
  19. Former Inmates Allege Russian ‘Torture Prisons’

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