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20 Worst Prisons on Earth

Here are 20 Worst Prisons on Earth.

1. Diyarbakır Prison, Turkey

001_Diyarbakır Prison-Turkey-Worst Prisons on Earth

Diyarbakir Prison in southeastern Turkey was built in 1980. Since then it has imprisoned many of that nation’s most violent criminals. This prison is known for dishing out not just physical torture to it’s inmates but mental as well. The are two sections within the facility, namely the E-Type which has a capacity of 744 prisoners and the D-Type with a 688 capacity; however, both currently hold more prisoners than they should.

2.  La Sabaneta, Venezuela

002_La Sabaneta-Venezuela-Worst Prisons on Earth

La Sabeneta is located in Venezuela and is considered one of the most brutal correctional facilities in South America. Many diseases run rampant inside and there is little to no care given to ill inmates. This in combination with the facility being understaffed causes many violent crimes inside.


3.  ADX Florence Supermax Prison, USA

003_ADX Florence Supermax Prison-USA-Worst Prisons on Earth

The ADX Florence Supermax Prison is said to house the most dangerous criminals in the United States. Located in Fremont County, Colorado it has a population of just 439 inmates currently, but has the tightest security in the country. Many inmates here commit suicide due to complete isolation from everyone and everything including other inmates as well as guards. Also known as the Alcatraz of the Rockies, the prison opened in 1994.

4.  Tadmor Prison, Syria

004_Tadmor Prison-Syria-Worst Prisons on Earth

The Tadmor Prison located in Tadmor, in the deserts of Syria is about 200 kilometers from Damascus. The prison originally was meant to be a military detention facility; however, during in the 80’s they began housing all sorts of criminals inside. In 1980, President Hafez al-Assad ordered execution of 2400 prisoners inside.  The prison was shut down in 2001; however, it was opened back again in 2011.

5.  Carandiru Penitentiary, Brazil

005_Carandiru Penitentiary-Brazil-Worst Prisons on Earth

The Carandiru Penitentiary located in San Paulo, Brazil, first opened in 1920.  However, it did not house its first criminals until 1956 and eventually closed down in 2002. In 1992, there was a huge riot and massacre inside the prison, in claimed the lives of 111 prisoners. Among other major problem within this prison, which housed about 8,000 inmates at its highest point, was the rampant spread of AIDS within inmates.  This ultimately led to its shutdown.


6.  Camp 22, North Korea

006_Camp 22-NorthKorea-Worst Prisons on Earth

Camp 22 is a political prison camp and it’s officially known as Kwan-li-so No. 22.  This concentration camp is completely isolated from the outside world.  Prisoners and sometimes even their families are held in lifelong detention here for petty crimes or for no apparent reason at all. There are an estimated 50,000 inmates inside this camp.

7.  Bang Kwang Central Prison, Thailand

007_Bang Kwang Central Prison-Thailand-Worst Prisons on Earth

Bang Kwang Central Prison located in the Nonthaburi Province of Thailand is about seven miles north of Bangkok.  This men’s-only correctional facility is considered one of the worst prisons in the Far East. The prison is overcrowded and understaffed. This jail even houses several foreign prisoners as well as inmates, who awaiting their execution.

8.  El Rodeo-Venezuela

008_El Rodeo-Venezuela-Worst Prisons on Earth

El Rodeo Prison in Guatire, Venezuela is the country’s worst inmate holding facility. This maximum security facility holds approximately 50,000 prisoners. In 2011, a huge gang war broke out that required the help from armed forces to end.

9.  Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

009_Gitarama Central Prison-Rwanda-Worst Prisons on Earth

Gitarama Central Prison is located in Rwanda, Africa. The conditions inside the prison have been so bad that prisoners in the past have resorted to eating each other’s flesh just to stay alive.  It was originally designed to house just 400 prisoners; however, in 1990s it housed nearly 7,000 inmates.

10. Rikers Island Prison, USA

010_Rikers Island Prison-USA-Worst Prisons on Earth

Rikers Island is New York City’s major prison complex and holds some of the United States’ dangerous criminals. The prison sits on an island in between the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx and is adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. Rikers Island is commonly referred to as “The Island” by New Yorkers and is known to have some of the most brutal guards in the country working within it.

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  • 11. think you got the numbers wrong way round, or maybe it’s missing a 0. “The prison is overpopulated. holding 700 inmates. It was constructed to hold just 2,500 prisoners”.

  • Riker’s Island correctional isn’t technically a prison, per se – it’s a detention center, also known as a “jail”. Inmates are detained there awaiting trial, bail, or transfer.

  • I believe that most of the prisons in Africa, South America and parts of Asia are so bad that the US and European prisons shouldn’t even appear on the list. They are there essentially to make it seem less unbalanced but the truth is it is unbalanced. I’m sure that the prisoners in the US have a terrible time of it but then again when I was in Zimbabwe I learned that their prison population has an almost 100% rate of being in some stage of HIV/AIDS. As a white guy who was constantly stopped for bribes by the police if I went to jail there for even 20 minutes it would effectively be a death sentence. The US prisons may be bad but they at least have some pretense of keeping control. Given the choice I would go to a jail in the US over anywhere in Africa or South America. Also you never really said what qualified the Israeli jail as one of the worst, just that you didn’t know what happens there. I would be surprised if the conditions were bad by comparison to the non-western jails on this list. They are a modern country with a strong legal system based on English law where prisoners do sue the state (even using the legal aid system) and when justified, win. What is the system you are using to rank these jails? It doesn’t seem like these are really the 20 worst jails on earth as much as these are names of 20 high security jails that the author of the article came up with from a 5 minute google search.

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