Prison facilities are one part of the complex criminal justice system, and not all of them have the best reputation. Listed below are 10 of the most notorious and violent prisons in the world.
1. San Quentin Prison
Established in 1952, San Quentin Prison is the oldest prison facility in California. Violence is a regular occurrence at this prison, and continues to be a huge problem despite the fact that there are many guards on hand. In February 2006, a situation escalated where what started out as a series of racially motivated attacks resulted in over 100 inmates getting seriously hurt. Two prisoners even died. Prison conditions at San Quentin are abysmal too; one report decreed that “it is our opinion that it is dangerous to house people there.”
2. Alcatraz Island Prison
Located on an island off the coast of San Francisco, California, Alcatraz was so bad that they had to shut the place down. This was a prison that became known for housing some of the most notorious criminals of all time, including mob boss, Al ‘Scarface’ Capone.
In 1945, one of the most notorious and violent escape attempts in prison history took place called the ‘Battle of Alcatraz’.
3. La Sabaneta Prison, Venezuela
Located in Venezuela, South America, this facility is arguably one of the most notorious ones on the continent. Designed to house 15,000 prisoners, the prison actually has over 25,000 inmates in crowded quarters. Due to the horrible conditions and the fact that the prison is understaffed, violence is a regular feature. Basic amenities are so scarce that prisoners are forced to compete for survival.
In 1994, a huge gun battle took place resulting in the deaths of 108 prisoners. Then in 1995, large scale violence broke out resulting in the deaths of 196 inmates and leaving 624 prisoners wounded.
4. Black Beach Prison, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
This prison is notorious for its grave human rights violations including guard brutality. Torture, incessant beatings, rape, and fights are just some of the regular occurrences here. Prisoners also suffer from malnutrition, chronic diseases, overcrowding, and rat infestations. What’s more, many prisoners have mysteriously vanished from this prison.
5. Rikers Island New York, NY
Rikers is notorious for its horrific treatment of inmates. It has a long history of rapes, murders, assaults, stabbings, beatings, and all around brutal treatment received at the hands of the guards or other inmates.
Guards have been known to establish ‘fight clubs’ where they make inmates fight each other for entertainment. The abuse is so bad that a string of federal investigations had to be carried out to discover the extent of the abuse.
Nevertheless, violence still reigns. Gangs run rampant inside the prison and guards have even recruited other inmates as ‘enforcers’ to carry out their bidding.
6. Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand
This is arguably the worst prison in all of Thailand. Prisoners are required to wear shackles for the first three months of their internment, and about 10% of the inmates are on death row. The prison facilities are deplorable with no running water, a crude, barely functioning sewer system, overcrowding, and severe malnutrition. Prisoners are only given food once a day in the form of rice and vegetables.
7. Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda
As if Rwanda hasn’t seen enough violence and horror, one of the worst prisons in the world exists there too. This prison is teeming with inmates far beyond its capacity. Due to underfunding, a lack of space, and a shortage of food, competition is fierce. Prisoners have been known to even kill and eat each other. There are no cells and prisoners must sleep wherever they can find room.
8. Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey
This is one prison which is known to have the largest number of human rights violations per inmate. Torture (both physical and mental), sexual abuse, and rape are all common features of daily life. Kurds and young children are among the incarcerated and conditions are absolutely terrible. Inmates have gone on hunger strikes, set themselves on fire, and have even committed suicide to escape this hell.
9. Tadmor Military Prison, Syria
Amnesty International has called this facility the most oppressive prison in the entire world. In their report, they stated that every aspect of the prison seemed designed in such as way so as to dehumanize all of the inmates.
In 1980, this prison came to the world’s notice when President Hafez al-Assad called for every prisoner to be killed in a retaliatory move after the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to have him assassinated. Between 800-2400 inmates were brutally murdered.
10. Camp 22, North Korea
This facility is a concentration camp which has been functional since 1965. It was largely an unknown facility until 2012 when its warden defected to China.
This prison harbors generations of the same families in order to wipe out their roots. Inmates here are subjected to horrible tortures and human experimentation. Prisoners have been used like lab rats for bomb testing, the building of biological weapons, and other horrific brutalities.
In an attempt to reduce incidences of crime in society, law enforcement and the criminal justice system seek to have criminals put away in such facilities; it is the punishment for breaking the law. Criminal justice programs teach individuals about the complex processes involved in the deterrence of crime in societies. With a degree in this field, you can pursue a wide range of career options within the criminal justice system.