Most Violent Prisons in the World

If you want to see some hellish and nightmarish places, look no further than the most violent prisons in the world.

Most Violent Prisons in the World

If you thought Shawshank was bad, these prisons make that facility look like a holiday resort. From Russia and North Korea, to Brazil and even New York, these are the most violent prisons in the world. Not just prisons, but supermax jails and penitentiaries, oftentimes in the worst conditions, that lock away some the most ruthless of all villainy. These are places you hopefully have on any upcoming vacation destinations.

The facilities alone tend to be ridden with unhealthy living conditions, poor management, and subsequently low funding. These places are literal hells on earth, and their inhabitants are anything but friendly. Menacing to look at alone, their in-house populations tend to be the worst of the worst in terms of criminality and having any overall humanistic qualities. These are not only violent criminals, but political prisoners, terrorists, and psychopathic serial killers, degraded souls so lost not even Amnesty International can provide for them, trapped within the bowels of prison systems worldwide.

Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

With a population capacity of 500, despite being home to nearly 6,000 inmates who must feed each other to survive, Gitarama Central Prison probably has the worst prison conditions in the entire world. Due to an overpopulation problem spanning long since the prison's birth, inmates must stand for so long, upon surfaces covered in feces, that their feet begin to rot.

There are no amenities whatsoever here. Being one of the most violent prisons in the world, Gitarama's populations will end up contracting gangrene, causing their limbs to simply fall off, or they must endure an improperly preformed amputation. At Gitarama, you're blessed by luck if you can survive more than a year of your sentencing.

Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey

Constructed in 1980, Diyarbakir Prison was originally meant to be an E-type Turkish facility which houses two floors of up to 1000 prisoners. However, the Coup d'etat carried out by the Turkish military that same year saw that it met a completely different purpose.

Now one of the most violent prisons in the world, Diyarbakir was molded into a martial law military facility, in which a host of brutality, torture and death, have become recurring staples from the accounts shared by its few survivors. If you're wondering what a psychopath is, you'll find many examples here.

La Sabaneta Prison, Venezuela

With the notoriety for being overcrowded and extremely corrupted, Venezuelan prisons are often some of the worst prisons in the world for their lack of hygiene, poor — if any — living conditions, and a myriad of disease. One in particular, it is infamous for an outbreak of cholera that had wiped out nearly 700 inmates. La Sabaneta is one of the most violent prisons in the world.

There are no daily routines here, nor proper rooming; prisoners who have more funds can get cells, while the less fortunate must sleep in the hallways. This level of close proximity leads to an extreme presence of violence. Massacres are all too frequent.

Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand

By the Taiwanese it's considered the "Bangkok Hilton," but it's far from the likes of any luxurious hotel. Bang Kwang Prison, built in the 1930s, is a maximum security facility that houses both foreign and local prisoners, many of whom share 25 or more years of incarceration time. While the newly registered inmates must wear them only for their first six months, those who live on death row have shackles welded to their feet.

Infested with rats, meals full of maggots, abusive guards, and a reputation for unfair sentencing, Bang Kwang's notorious facility is one of the most violent prisons in the world because it's a living, breathing hell on earth.

Camp 1391, Israel

With monickers such as Facility 1391 or Unit 1391, it's not hard to see how this place is one of the most violent prisons in the world. Most often known as Camp 1391, this Israeli prison camp was not even known to the public record until 2003. It's actually been included on a list of 100 Places You Will Never Visit, which identifies some of the most top secret locations.

Since it’s run by the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Corps, much of it still remains top secret. Camp 1391 houses what they call “high-risk” inmates, but with so much of the camp’s valuable information still left classified, it’s next to impossible digging up any information on it.

Tadmor Prison, Syria

No more than 200 kilometers out from Damascus sits a construction made by the French after WWI, intended for the purposes of being military barracks — though, it's now one of the most violent prisons in the world. Syrian poet Faraj Bereqdar, political prisoner there in the 80s, called it a "kingdom of death and madness."

Tadmor Prison is renowned for its level of torture, neglect, and overall abusiveness upon its many inmates. It became so bad that the facility was closed down in 2001, but returned merely a decade later, when the arrests of 350 people preforming anti-government demonstrations led to its swift reopening.

Carandiru Penitentiary, Brazil

Having opened in 1920, due to the high demands made by the 1890 criminal codes, São Paulo Prison is most often recollected in connection with the Carandiru Massacre of 1992. After an inmate riot overwhelmed police and military personnel were dispatched to administer order, 111 prisoners would end up dead, 102 of them shot and the other 9 stabbed.

Though it was demolished in 2002, Carandiru proves to encapsulate the very eye of brutality and disorder, being that it once was one of the most violent prisons in the world. In fact, it's so infamous that the facility itself was the basis for the third season of the show Prison Break.

Camp 22, North Korea

Though the official name is Kwalliso, Hoeryong concentration camp is by far one of the most violent prisons in the world. Completely separated from the outside world, Camp 22 utilizes a number of human rights violations as common practices, such as routine torture, forced labor, and human experimentation.

Prisoners get nothing more than 180 grams of corn a day, though they will labor in mining factories or agriculture for up to 15 hours daily. Around 30 percent of the population has deformities, and many children will die before the age of 10. Those who are extremely ill are left isolated to die abandoned and alone. If God does exist, he certainly does not exist here.

Petak Island Prison, Russia

Considered "Russia's Alcatraz," Petak Island Prison is surrounded on all sides by the frozen White Lake. Allowing prisoners only 2 visitors per year, while making them spend up to 23 hours each day locked in a two-man room, the prison itself is a melting pot of grotesque inhumanities.

Psychologist Svetlana Kiselyova said, "This place destroys people." As one of the most violent prisons in the world, Petak Island has no bathrooms, washing facilities, or any amenities of the like. Most prisoners fall into a void of isolation, most often losing their minds or dying of tuberculosis, for which more than half of the prison population has acquired.

USP Florence ADMAX, Colorado

As of 2011 it was considered America's most secure prison, with 95 percent of its population being transferred prisoners from other facilities wherein they could not be handled as properly or as securely as at Colorado's "Supermax" ADX Florence.

Here, where prisoners are met with 23 hours of solitary confinement a day and spend at least 3 years barred from any prisoner contact, conditions are often said to be fair, but obviously harsh. Supermax holds anywhere from convicted terrorists to political criminals, such as Unabomber Ted Kacynski and Robert Hansen (a Soviet spy).

Rikers Island, New York

Take a bite out of the Big Apple by visiting one of the most violent prisons in the world: Rikers Island. That's right, if you're a true blue New Yorker, there's a facility as gruesome and horrifying as most others on this list right in your backyard.

With population numbers reaching in the 10,000s and many subsequent inmate exposes detailing its immense corruption, Rikers is home to an extreme amount of cruelty. This includes staff beatings, inmate rape, and maddeningly long stints in solitary confinement. A 2012 lawsuit by the Legal Aid Society even documented these examples of "excessive force with impunity," but the DOC did nothing more than add more solitary confinement cells to the island prison.

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, California

You won't be finding history's least prolific serial killer here. San Francisco's historical island, known as Alcatraz, still holds one of the most baffling, yet greatest prison escapes in American history. Fifty-five years later, not one of the three inmate escapees have been caught; their whereabouts are still unknown.

As for the facility, being that it's one of the most violent prisons in the world, Alcatraz was well documented as housing some of America's most dangerous and disruptive convicts, like mafia gangster Al Capone.

La Sante Prison, France

France's most infamous facility, La Sante Prison, sits in the midst of towering high rises and beautiful French architecture, giving the place an almost fantasy-like quality. Despite this, the facility's interior is far from a fantasy land.

Being that it's one the most violent prisons in the world, stronger inmates tend to overpower and enslave weaker ones, who oftentimes just commit suicide. A host of unsanitary conditions, like rats and lice, infest the halls, while lack of guards and immense overcrowding has befallen despair over La Sante's environment, with inmates either tearing each other to pieces, or opting out instead of living in that garish hell.

Donald Gray
Donald Gray
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
Donald Gray

Politics may be a disgusting battlefield, but it is a necessary vice in our country, and a particular fancy of mine, like productivity and success. These are important facets in the modern world, and must be expounded upon.

See all posts by Donald Gray