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Top 50 Most Dangerous Prisons In The World (2024)

The worst prisons in the world are places where nobody wants to go. These are some of the hardest dens of criminals; and also places of intense suffering and neglect.

These prisons are so hostile that many of the inmates die or suffer grievous injuries. Those who survive are often further hardened by their experiences in those prisons, which brings up the question of whether or not these prisons actually have any value.

The humanitarian situation of these prisons is another angle that is yet to be addressed; regardless of their status as criminals, the inmates are still humans, and still deserve to be treated as such.

Top 50 Worst Prisons In The World

1. Venezuela, La Sabaneta Prison

Venezuela, La Sabaneta Prison is largely accepted to be the worst prison in the world; anyone who ends up there is either likely to repent of his sins or give up completely on life.

Officially, it is called The Maracaibo National Prison, and became famous around the world as a notorious place. This prison has seen more blood than battlefields; it has been the site of numerous riots, as well as smaller scale gang brawls, fires, and other avenues of violence.

There are many accusations of corruption; of prison officials collaborating with criminals to harm other inmates, and to smuggle drugs and other harmful substances into the prison.

All these factors, plus the overcrowded state of the prison led to its closure in 2013. It is currently open for tours; people come in from all over the world to see this notorious prison, and to relieve the suffering of those who were forced to live there.

2. Black Dolphin Prison, Russia

Black Dolphin Prison, in Russia is one of the foremost examples of how hard life can be in Russia. There are many evil prisons in Russia, but this is the absolute worst.

The official name of the prison is Federal Governmental Institution — penal colony No. 6 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia. It is located at Sol-Iletsk, Orenburg Oblast, Russia, which is near its border with Kazakhstan.

This prison gets its name from the sculpture of a Black Dolphin near its entrance. Its hard nature probably comes from the fact that many of the inmates incarcerated there are serving life sentences. Men with no hope of release from prison don’t tend to have any interest in being reformed; instead they delve deeper into crime, and showing resistance to all norms.

At this prison such resistance is met with brutality; the guards are infamous for their hard and uncompromising behavior. They are quick to mete out beatings and to dish out other forms of severe punishment for the slightest hint of misbehavior.

One cannot blame the guards; the prisoners are some of the worst; child molesters, murderers, terrorists, cannibals, and serial killers.

3. Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

Gitarama Central Prison is one of the worst hell holes in Africa; it an overcrowded prison in Rwanda where the inmates look like they have survived a terrible famine.

This prison has long drawn the concern of humanitarian groups because of the poor conditions that inmates are forced to endure. The congestion makes the inmates vulnerable to the spread of disease, and what is worse; there is little or no medical care available at the prison.

There are reports of cannibalism at this prison, but such reports seem far-fetched. What is clear beyond doubt is that there is hunger in this prison; inmates receive less than adequate food rations, with the result that they all look emaciated and weak.

Perhaps this may be a deliberate act to keep the inmates in check; some of these prisoners are hard men; armed robbers, kidnappers, murderers, and thieves. At their full strength they may be difficult to control.

4. Camp 22, North Korea

North Korea is a very secretive country, and as a result, it is not clear how much detail about this prison can be trusted. Nevertheless, North Korea is also a hard country; and as a result it does not come as a surprise that it has one of the hardest prisons in the world.

“Camp 22” closed in 2012 after a warder defected, but it still deserves a place in history as one of the cruelest prison camps ever built, and evidence that history tends to repeat itself.

Camp 22 is where the government of North Korea kept political prisoners; people who did not agree with the government, or accept the government’s legitimacy. The purpose was not to reform the prisoners; it was a concentration camp; the inmates were kept there till they died.

Sometimes, people are stubborn; and they refuse to die when the government asks them; to quicken the death Camp 22 even has a gas chamber just like Auschwitz during the time of Hitler.

5. Gldani Prison Tbilisi, Georgia

Gldani Prison, which is located in Tbilisi, Georgia is an infamous prison. The infamy arose due to the filmed rape and torture of inmates carried out by the prison guards and senior officers. This sparked public outrage in the country, and caused several sackings and resignations, as well as widespread changes in the government and prison system.

Gldani Prison Tbilisi, Georgia has improved dramatically since 2013, but it cannot so quickly shake off a reputation as one of the most inhumane prison institutions in the world; where inmates were dragged out of their cells, publicly undressed, beaten, raped, spat upon, and insulted for the fun of the prison guards and officers.

Gldani Prison now holds around 12,000 inmates, which is about half of the number of inmates it once held. The prison is closely watched by the United Nations, and by several humanitarian organizations.

6. Miguel Castro Castro Prison, San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru

Miguel Castro Castro prison in San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima is one of the worst places on earth that a person can end up in. it is a prison where no form of correction or rehabilitation takes place. It is a prison that holds some high profile murderers, hit men, drug dealers, and international criminals.

The prison is also notorious for the dark activities that happen there; some of the criminals continue to run their dirty businesses outside, right from inside the prison. A prison director who tried to instill some discipline was gunned down outside his home, and many of the prisoners have escaped, which led to the construction of a court house on site so that prisoners don’t escape on-route to court.

There is plenty of corruption on-going in the prison; some of the drug dealers collaborate with the criminals to smuggle drugs, women, and weapons into the facility. Conditions are so bad that whenever people find themselves there, they will likely become real criminals even if they were not before.

7. Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Black Beach Prison

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Black Beach Prison is notorious for many things; it is hot as hell because the proximity to water and land combine to create a kind of greenhouse effect. The prison is also notorious for the inhuman treatment dished out to the prisoners, and also for the fact that it is overcrowded.

This is one of the most notorious prisons in Africa; it is a place that houses the kind of people who the government does not want to see in the country; including political prisoners and other kind of people.

The prison is hell; systematically, inmates are underfed and neglected; they are also denied medical treatment and any other thing that can keep them healthy and in good shape. Inmates are not allowed to receive calls, letters or any communication from outside; not even from their lawyers or doctors.

8. Kamiti Maximum Security Prison

Kamiti Maximum Security Prison is a prison located within Kasarani District, which is near Kiambu County, in Nairobi, Kenya. The prison has always been subject of concern from humanitarian bodies; the terrifying reports coming out of that prison.

The prison is grossly overcrowded; it was built for 1400 prisoners, but now houses over 3600 in poor living conditions. There is no reliable water at the prison; instead, prisoners haul buckets of water every day; for the use of the prison guards and for themselves.

Conditions are so unsanitary that it was no surprise when in 2009 about 8 prisoners died from a cholera outbreak. Perhaps they would not have died if they had received prompt medical attention; there is little or no medical attention available at this prison.

There are confirmed reports of beatings carried out by prison guards on inmates; and food rations are very small.

9. San Pedro prison

San Pedro prison, is located at San Juan de Lurigancho, which makes it another one of Peru’s dangerous and overcrowded prison facilities with nothing but bad tales coming out of it. This prison was built for 2,500 inmates but it now holds 11,500.

Most of that 11,500 inmates are hardened criminals; most of them are tied to the illicit drug industry. There is a lot of violence and corruption on-going in the prison; a Dutch drug trafficker killed his girlfriend in this prison back in August 2010, and then he hid her body right there in the prison.

There is no rehabilitation going on in this prison; prison officials have said that the population makes it impossible to properly monitor the prison. Furthermore, there is not enough to put into training and rehabilitation of the prisoners so that they can rejoin society after their sentences expire.

10. Pollsmoor Prison

Pollsmoor Prison, officially known as Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison, is arguably the most infamous prison in South Africa. Its infamy comes from the fact that it is dangerous, overcrowded, and brutal.

This prison which is located in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai, was established in 1964. At the time when it was established it was designed to hold 4,336 offenders, but it now holds around 7000.

Pollsmoor Prison is not where anyone would want to go; there is too much violence to the point where inmates cannot sleep for fear of being attacked. Much of the violence comes from the activities of the gangs; when inmates are brought in, they are put with members of their gangs in the same cell block. This is because they can be killed if they are found by members of rival gangs.

Inmates who are not affiliated with any gangs effectively have gangs chosen for them by the prison because they will then be radicalized. Few people leave these gangs; in fact many of them confess to crimes they did not commit so as to continue in the gangs and in the prison.

The following is a more extensive list of the 50 worst prisons in the world.

Rank Prison Location
1 La Sabaneta Prison Venezuela
2 Black Dolphin Prison Russia
3 Gitarama Central Prison Gitarama, Rwanda
4 Camp 22 North Korea
5 Gldani Prison Tbilisi, Georgia
6 Miguel Castro Castro prison, San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima Lima, Peru
7 Black Beach Prison Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
8 Kamiti Maximum Security Prison Nairobi, Kenya
9 San Pedro prison San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru
10 Pollsmoor Prison Cape town, South Africa
11 Carandiru Penitentiary Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 Tadmor Prison Damascus, Syria
13 Diyabakir Prison Turkey
14 Pretoria Local Prison Pretoria, South Africa
15 ADX Florence United States
16 Alcatraz Prison Island San Francisco, United States
17 Rikers Island Prison New York, United States
18 Bang Kwang Prison Bangkok, Thailand
19 San Quentin Prison San Francisco, United States
20 Terrorist Confinement Centre, El Salvador El Salvador
21 Chikurubi Prison Harare, Zimbabwe
22 Alcuaz Prison Brazil
23 Bogota District Prison Colombia
24 Melekhovo IK-6 Russia
25 Arthur Road Jail India
26 Cereso Number 3 State Prison Mexico
27 Kaliti Prison Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
28 Guantanamo Bay Cuba
29 Lhasa Prison No. 1 Tibet, china
30 The Scorpion Prison Helwan, Egypt
31 San Pedro Prison La Paz, Bolivia
32 Challapalca Prison Peru
33 Fremantle Prison Western Australia
34 Petak Island Russia
35 HM Prison Maze Northern Island
36 HM Prison Dartmoor England
37 Mendoza Prison Argentina
38 La Modelo Prison Columbia
39 Brandvlei Prison South Africa
40 Château d’If Island Prison Marseilles, France
41 Sing Sing Correctional Facility New York, United States
42 Newgate Prison England
43 Sednaya Prison Damascus, Syria
44 Evin Prison Iran
45 Colditz Castle Saxony, German
46 Abu Ghraib Iraq
47 Hanoi Hilton Vietnam
48 Robben Island South Africa
49 Folsom State Prison California
50 Auburn Correctional Facility New York, United States



The worst prisons in the world are some of the humanitarian calamities that have befallen humanity; these hell on earth are evidence of how much humanity has failed to provide for those who it deems outcasts. Thankfully, there are many humanitarian organizations who now watch over these prisons to ensure that inmates at least are treated like human beings.

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