Top 8 Worst Prisons In The World

A prison is no one’s idea of fun. In fact, there are quite many people who would raise an astonished eyebrow when they hear that something approaching is fun – say for example, a New Year’s party is held in a prison. “Prisoners are supposed to suffer, not to enjoy!” these tough minded individuals may say. But even they would hesitate to acknowledge the full horrors of the prisons mentioned below: the worst on the planet.

8 Worst Prisons In The World

So, have you ever thought what the worst prisons in the world are like? For a better insight, we have listed 8 of them in reverse chronological order. Have a look:

8. Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

Worst Prisons In The World

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There are essentially two options for you as a prisoner in this prison. Either you are beaten to death or you die of starvation. Okay, there might be a bit of an exaggeration in that but not by much.

The fact that there are no cells in the prison to keep the most violent of the lot in check adds to the malaise. And the overpowering will for survival in the face of a lack of food has even prompted inmates to resort to cannibalism. Although the prison was built for 500 prisoners, it now accommodates well over five times that number. That’s quite a lot of restless souls on a prowl to satisfy their primal urges.

7. Tadmor Prison, Syria

Worst Prisons In The World

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Tadmor is probably one of the worst prisons in the world for the reason that the setting is exotic but soulless – right in the middle of a desert. A notorious torture chamber of sorts for political prisoners and criminals, the facility was shut down in 2001 only to come alive again a decade later — this time with expanded space for more prisoners but other than that, no other improvements of note.

A prison that comes with no access to such things as books, radio or the TV. Guards take to torturing the prisoners just to pass the time, or so it’s said. But it probably isn’t safe getting yourself in as a prisoner to verify if the last said is true or not.

6. Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey

Worst Prisons In The World

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The Kurdish population living in the region may frown upon a dictionary that doesn’t have the name of the Diyarbakir Prison entered as the meaning for hell. For ever since the prison began operational in 1980, countless are the Kurdish people who are incarcerated here.

A ‘non-home away from home’ for criminals and political prisoners alike, hundreds of inmates have been tortured to death between the walls of Diyarbakir. The torture methods are so inhumane that inmates have set themselves on fire in the dozens just to escape it.

5. La Sabaneta Prison, Venezuela

Worst Prisons In The World


It’s easy to confuse the La Sabaneta Prison with something you might have read about in a preposterous graphic novel. Once described by the late president, Hugo Chavez as “The gateway to the fifth circle of hell” La Sabaneta is universally notorious.

The prison is perennially overcrowded though an awful lot of prisoners get murdered in one way or another every year. For instance, in 2012 alone the toll was 591. In the following year, after the death of 16, a raid yielded a big cache of weapons from the prisoners: the security officers were able to confiscate a whopping 22,000 rounds of ammo, rifles and pistols. They also uncovered an underground tunnel where marijuana and cocaine are stored. A candy store, it certainly isn’t.

4. Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand

Top 8 Worst Prisons In The World

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If you think that your in-law is tough and mean, just go over to Thailand and visit this prison that’s quite close to Bangkok. The inmates would make you look at your in-law with mellower eyes. To begin with, there’s no one in the Bang Kwang Prison who is serving anything less than a sentence of 25 years. Gulp.

The menu includes one bowl of rice per day, served along with vegetables. Double gulp. For the first three months, all prisoners have to wear shackles and those on death row – they form 10 percent of the total prisoner population and they have to wear iron shackles that are actually welded to their legs. To top it all, the sewer system in the prison is so bad. The place is overcrowded as hell. I knew the word ‘hell’ would pop up somewhere.

3. Petak Island Prison, Russia

Worst Prisons In The World

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What with Vladmir Putin playing the autocrat, Russia has taken on the aura of a heartless state in the eyes of the world. The Petak Island on White Lake – a maximum security prison wouldn’t do anything to alter that view.

Listed as one of the worst prisons in the world, Petak has something scary to hear about. Each and every inmate spends his time in isolation. As if that’s not enough, the entire prison is a large fortress situated in the middle of nowhere -as far from civilization as you can get while being on Russian soil, it seems.

To make things more interesting, there comes the winter, where the temperatures drop to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Not surprisingly, the number of inmates who lose their minds due to incarceration is high.

2. La Sante Prison, Paris, France

Top 8 Worst Prisons In The World

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The French are romantic, or so they say. Going by the looks on the eyes of certain French actresses, you can certainly believe it. However, there’s hardly anything even remotely romantic about the La Sante Prison in Paris, though it’s situated just a few miles away from the mesmerizing Seine River. The maximum-security prison, which opened in 1867 has crushed the spirits-and one must assume, bones-of many a dark soul who ended up behind the bars. The fact that only three prisoners have escaped in its long history shows how so not liberal the entire system really is.

1. Rikers Island, New York

Worst Prisons In The World

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The 10 jails on Rikers Island hold in average 12,000 inmates on any given day. If that’s claustrophobic, there is a long list of, ehm… incidents, which mark it out as quite a nasty place for the inmates – assaults, rapes and murders by prison guards are not the stuff of myth here. So no doubt this is one of the worst prisons in the world.

But to make things merry, there is entertainment in the form of a guard sanctioned “fight club.” Of course, it’s not just the guards whom the prisoners have to watch out for but also each other. All in all, not the kind of place to choose for a vacation spot.

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