Top 10 Worst Prisons in the World


Of course, nobody wants to go to prison, but there are some prisons that you really, really don’t want to be imprisoned as an inmate. Being in jail is only part of the problem, staying alive is the bigger issue. Here are the top 10 most dangerous prisons in the world.

10. San Quentin Prison

San Quentin, California – In the 1930’s, San Quentin was rife with corruption by management, until a new director, Clinton Truman Duffy, appalled at the inhumane conditions at the prison, decided to implement reforms in the 1940’s. Prior to his appointment, prisoners made counterfeit currency in the prison shops, had their heads shaved and were forced to wear numbered uniforms, while eating out of pails and enduring solitary confinement in poured-concrete cells that had little air and no light. Even a petty offense to prison regulations would land an inmate in solitary, and race riots would put inmate lives at risk on a regular basis. San Quentin is still a harsh environment, filled with California’s most violent offenders, and the high ratio of guards to general population, just barely keeps the prison system from spiraling out of control.

9. Bang Kwang Prison

Thailand – Known as the “Bangkok Hilton”, Bang Kwang is understaffed, overcrowded, and filled with inmates who struggle with insanity as they spend the first months of their sentences chained in leg irons. The Thai culture doesn’t believe in coddling prisoners, and, in the words of Director of Prison Khun Nattee, “Thai prisons are tough…you don’t want to be in Bang Kwang.” Poor medical care is standard at this prison, with sick inmates shackled to their beds as they wait for medicines they probably will never get. If you find yourself on Death Row at Bangkwang, you will have leg irons welded on until your execution, and you will be given only two hours notice before dying by lethal injection.

8. Rikers Island Prison

Rikers Island, New York – Stabbings, beatings and brutal treatment from prison guards characterize this American prison. Filled primarily with offenders who are visible minorities, jailed on drug offenses, the prison is a hotbed of violence and aggression. In 2007, prisoner Charles Afflic was beaten senseless with a billy club by a prison official, who hit him repeatedly from behind: his injuries were so severe they necessitated brain surgery. 6 inmates committed suicide, hanging themselves with bedsheets in their cells, during the first six months of 2003 alone. Rikers has a reputation for its cruel treatment of mentally ill prisoners, who often turn to suicide in lieu of treatment and understanding.

7. ADX Florence Supermax Facility

File:ADX prison cell.svg

Colorado – This prison was built in response to the violent attacks on guards and prison staff at other US prisons – it was meant to be the ultimate deterrent, a place where inmates were completely isolated from prison staff, and left to live in slow psychological torture as they spent 23 hours a day in barren cells. Inmates at ADX are the worst of the worst, often repeat offenders who have killed or injured other inmates, or even prison guards, during their time in other institutions. Describes by inmates as a nightmare vision of punishment, “meant to inflict misery and pain”, this “clean version of hell” is also a violent place, despite all the steps taken to segregate and isolate the general population. In its 13 years of operation, two prisoners have been killed at ADX Florence. Another prisoner, named Lawrence Klaker, was shot and injured as he entered the Supermax prison for the first time: he later killed himself within prison walls.

6. Alcatraz Island Prison

Cells of the prison on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, USA

Cells of the prison on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, USA

San Francisco, CA – This prison, known as “The Rock”, or “Devil’s Island” was built to house the criminals of the 1920’s, who broke laws during the times of Prohibition leading into the Great Depression. Another study in stark, soul-destroying discomfort and isolation, Alcatraz was known for its unique design, which made escape almost unthinkable. Inmates had no contact with the world outside the prison gates, and suffered harsh discipline from prison officials, as well as an inhumane policy of “silence” that forced prisoners to forgo speech for long periods of time. As can be expected, this was no boon to mental health, and many inmates went insane as they were forced to endure the stringent conditions of the prison without any conversation or other release of their emotions. The prison was shut down in 1963, but its grim legacy lives on, in film and legend.

5. La Sante Prison

Paris, France – According to whistle-blower and former prison official Veronique Vasseur, this prison was a hellhole, where prisoners were forced to live out their sentences in concrete cells full of rats and lice. Inmates were prone to lose their sanity as they dealt with the harsh daily realities of life at La Sante – which translates, ironically, to “health” in the English language. The well being of inmates was very low on the list of priorities for the French administrators of this torture chamber on a grand scale: weaker inmates were routinely enslaved by stronger ones, and rapes were a daily event at the prison. Suicide was rampant at la Sante, with a staggering 122 self-inflicted deaths of prisoners in 2002, and 73 more by mid 2003. The tendency to suicide could be linked to the terrible living conditions that plunged inmates into clinical depression: overcrowding, understaffing, and prison violence led these people to swallow drain cleaner in order to end their suffering once and for all.

4. Diyarbakir Prison

Image result for  Diyarbakir Prison

Turkey – This prison has been cited for its human right violations, which are thought to cross the line into true atrocity. From 1981 to 1984, 34 prisoners lost their lives due to the excessive instances of torture, both mental and physical, practiced at Diyarbakir. This prison is notorious for the sexual abuse of its inmates, and its unlivable conditions. Prisoners have attempted hunger strikes, set themselves on fire in protest of prison conditions, and committed suicide in order to escape the horrors of this Turkish facility. Diyarbakir is known to incarcerate mere children for sentences of life imprisonment, and its “crimes against humanity” make it one of the word’s most sadistic and forbidding penal institutions.

3. La Sabaneta Prison

Venezuela – Venezuela is known for its brutal prisons, where violence is a daily occurrence, and inmates are at the mercy of disease outbreaks, underpaid staff, little medical services, and insufficient food and care. La Sabaneta is the worst of the worst, a place where cholera outbreaks have wiped out 700 inmates, amidst “appalling violence” and riots that triggered a horrific massacre of 100 inmates back in 1994. Death is rampant at La Sabaneta, and the hair-trigger tempers of inmates and staff are thought to be linked to idleness and boredom, as no activities are permitted to release tension: left to their own devices, prisoners fight amongst themselves, fashion shivs and other deadly weapons, and kill one another in this truly archaic penal facility.

2. Tadmor Prison

Syria – The death count may not rank Tadmor Prison as number one on this list, but no other prison sent such shivers down my spine as I did my research. The violence at Tadmor is so gruesome and utterly merciless, I felt sick reading about it. Described as a “kingdom of death and madness” by a former detainee, Tadmor features bloodthirsty guards who butcher inmates with axes, and political prisoners (read: non violent protestors) who are starved to concentration camp emaciation by prison administrators. In 1980, after an assassination attempt on the President (in Damascus), inmates were made to pay the ultimate price as commandos landed at Tadmor in helicopters, and butchered as many as 500 prisoners in their cells: this “warning: sent a clear message to Syrians about staying in line. When guards are not busy tying up inmates and dragging them to death, they can be found chopping up body parts in one of the prison’s several courtyards.

1. Carandiru Prison

Brazil – The body count was sky-high at this notorious Brazilian prison, where riots in 1992 triggered a massacre of the general population by local police: inmates, who had already given in and surrendered to police, were shot as they cowered in terror in their tiny cells. Deaths at this facility are thought to be as many as 1300 over its 46 year history: the reign of terror by prison officials was stopped in 2002 when the prison was closed, amidst campaigns from Amnesty International, and reports of gross human rights violations that could not be quieted by Brazilian officials.  The violence wasn’t the only thing threatening the unfortunate residents of this dark place: an AIDS epidemic at the facility spread rapidly, with as many as one in five of the inmates suffering from the disease.

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  1. So, if we strip them of their dignity, feed them HIV, and drive them completely insane then were doing our jobs? I hate to state the obvious but this entire logic is completely fuhkt. And I have a feeling that the “guards” mobbing around the Syrian prisons with axes are significantly more screwed up in the head than the inmates. I’m not too sure where humanity went and I’m not sure how of ALL the people we have in this world we can’t collectively agree this isn’t right, and change it. I realize these are world issues that are forgotten about in day to day life, but this should be addressed. It’s not helping, it’s destroying minds, and spirits, and potentially releasing them back into society. Since when do we teach a lesson by DESTROYING a person? If we tell our teenage daughter not to have sex, we don’t cut her hands off, so she will be too afraid to do it again. We heal her. We create an opportunity for her to feel more of a person, and discover self respect and love. Just had to put my two cents in, great article!! -Salam

    • Yeah…who do you think is more insane, the prisoner who is locked up in one of these prisons, or the guards who are there on their own free will?

  2. Long Kesh is worse, the Russian Black Dolfin is maybe the worst….as far as history goes, look at GUlag…..millions died, Russian systems are rampant with death, unlike Venezuela and Iran Russia is a superpower, civilized….Dolfin will break any American down to jelly—that, or they die.

  3. Um im pretty sure all african and south america, russia and asia’s prisons are alot worse then americas, all we get is the excess mexicans and black criminals overflowing from there country

  4. Good read. I must object a little though. You may want to look up butyrka prison in Moscow. They cleaned it up allot over the last decade but during the USSR and the 1990s it was an absolute hell hole. It’ was by no means even close to being the worst prison on earth, but definitely worse then allot of the prisons mentioned in this article.

  5. Missie Williams on

    My sister was murdered when she was 11 years old. He waited in the woods took aim at her and fired. He didn’t even know her name ….only her face through the scope on his gun that he used to end her life. Even I can see basic human rights being of no concern in some of the instances described above. I believe in The Death Sentence and I believe prisons should never be a good nor easy time. I just wonder where in a human being such cruel purposeful intentions are born? Imagine taking an axe to a living being , some just children as described at Diyarbakir Prison in Turkey …..hacking them up piece by piece. That is way beyond what my mind can even begin to process. I agree with both sides and perhaps that makes me weak for not taking a firm stand . I’ll tell you… Child abusers of any kind I have no pitty or use for. In my opinion they deserve no human rights because they don’t deserve a life to live ( and no ….. I was not abused). I can even justify reason for murder. A mother or father protecting their children, siblings protecting each other . Women and men who have been broken and beaten by their spouse for years and finally they say , not today. Back me against a wall in any one of their shoes and I would kill too. Some of these offenders are hot check writers, drug addicts, drunks and many other types of non-violent offenders and NO they don’t deserve torture but a restricted, boring, a bit uncomfortable, no frills, no say, do as your told prison sentence to pay their debt to society . Then you have armed robbery, home invasion , car jacking, crimes of passion what do you do with people who commit these level of crimes? The day we as humans loose hope in the idea that people can change , people can learn and sometimes a 2nd chance is warrented and redemption possible…..well that’s the day we become the very same “MONSTERS” we curse. Again, some of these offenders need a ticket straight to hell but there will always be an exception to the rule .

    The “He” who killed my sister was also 11 years old.

    ….. He broke almost every exception to every rule I ever thought I stood firm on or would feel towards anyone who even might be capable of killing my baby and only sister.

    I enjoyed your article very much. Thank you.

    • Replying to Missie:
      OMG what a letter. Deep sympathies for your sister. I don’t know what to think about the 11yo kid who murdered your 11yo sister (and presumably already knew how to use what sounds like a sniper scope). I know there are groups that will brainwash kids much younger, and I think there is a special place in Hell (a really, especially *hot* place) more for the adults who brainwash the kids than for these young perps themselves. Children know what they are taught; my guess is if brainwashing was not a factor, the kid was from an abusive or otherwise violent home where acting out aggression was the norm. I believe in the death penalty largely because my religion, the Baha’i Faith (that was a little hyperbole above; we believe Heaven and Hell are more spiritual realities than physical ones) suggests that certain crimes need to be expiated in certain ways, if not here, then in the hereafter. I have thought just about every thought you’ve expressed in your letter about prisons and what to do with purse snatchers vs mass murderers. Society has the obligation to protect itself, yet many faith traditions would teach that the individual’s role is to forgive. I truly believe that holding onto hate poisons no one but oneself. Could I forgive if someone harmed my child (not much older than your sister)? No, probably my first reaction would be to try to take the perp apart with my bare hands *if* I believed he or she had been identified accurately (and that’s a big if). On second chances, yes, if the person learned by example, torture, brainwashing, being a victim, etc, the person can UNlearn given exposure to the right influences. Do we find those right influences in the penal system (ours or anyone else’s)? I like to think of Malcolm X, who *did* eventually find his spiritual path, and that his path did begin in prison (even if Elijah Muhammad’s take on Islam might have been other than the intent of the Holy Qur’an). But his case is an unfortunately rare one. Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts.

      PS If this isn’t asking too much, it sounds like the murderer was identified. Was there an outcome that led to his incarceration or other civil punishment?

  6. I’ve discovered another candidate for the Top 10 list: Qarzak in Iran. Its description will remind you of the old movie “Escape from New York.” They’ve basically gutted a huge factory into which they toss “”criminals” including, of course, prisoners of conscience. My previous pick had been Evin, followed by Gohardasht (both have political wings where inconvenient prisoners of conscience can be attacked or killed with impunity. Both the Yaran and members of the BIHE, which offered educational opportunities to Baha’i youth denied the right to education, have been in Evin, and the Yaran, including two women, have been through all 3. If you Google “Education Under Fire,” you can read about the BIHE group; info on the Yaran and what they’ve endured (including the ludicrous charges upon which groups were convicted) may be found at

    Doesn’t it say something awful about the state of the world that this list of the 10 worst prisons has evoked a response from people saying “No, wait, you forgot this other one.”

  7. That List Guy on

    Is this list just for modern prisons? If not then you would have thought that Treblinka and Auschwitz would be on there. And even then, I would have thought that Camp 22 (North Korean labour camp) would be on there. I don’t mean any offence at all.

    • Im guessing they are not counting internment camps. Just prisons where the offenders have faced some sort of trial. i could be wrong.

  8. Wow. I read some of what people posting here say and after promising I would not get upset, I am extremely upset. I am sad at what this country that used to be a country that gave hope to other nations set an example of what humanity is, nolonger exists. Even though we were never perfect, we recognized that we could always improve and strived to become better.
    I am literally scared as I read people here calling for the death and torture of pot smokers and drug addicts and petty thieves. I truly believe people like myself who label themselves liberal and free thinking would be on their list as well.
    This is why,I tell my kids to keep their political views secret, as the people that are loudest in this country despise knowledge, loathe compassion, and are a threat to opposing views.
    As of now we are not locking citizens up for being “too liberal” but I say these people who have let religion control their minds , hate radio harden their hearts, would pass laws against us and have us locked away and tortured for dissent. I feel complete hatred from people such as Common Sense, and he is not rare.He is not an anomoly. In fact, there is an entire political party in this country to represent him.
    Freedom as we know it will not exist for future generations. I think humanity and free thinking will be driven underground once again.
    We are already locking people away younger and younger and trying to criminalize moral indiscretions. Don’t feel too safe when people with as much hatred and as ignorant as Common Sense walk amongst us.
    If there is a God he is not in the hearts of the animals I have read here. The evil of some of the crimes committed is matched by the evil of lusting for the suffering of others.
    I, in no way shape or form think anyone who,has murdered should ever walk the streets, but I draw the line at becoming murderers and torturers ourselves. Common Sense, when you go to church tomorrow to pray for your soul, dont bother, you do not have one.
    Thanks for the read.

  9. Now you know how I feel when I’ve recommended getting any of the Iranian prisons on Amnesty’s hit list (thinking Evin, Gohardasht, and Qarzak for a start) into this top ten. My particular concern is the Baha’is, but they have imprisoned many more prisoners of conscience for the reasons you describe above. I was a little discourage when I followed the link to your letter to see that there are now links to petitions to do such things as overturn Roe vs. Wade. That’ seems out of keeping with a site that’s decrying human rights violations in prisons around the world.

    Don’t worry. You’re not alone.Actually, although I see your point about keeping silent (and we do on partisan politics) I’ve taught my son to stand tall and be as **** vocal as he wants when voicing his views on things like the brotherhood of man and the equality of men and women!

  10. I’m a bit surprised to not see “CAMP 22” on the list. It is by far one of the worst, IF not the worst. This was well written with great information.

  11. Oh, and it’s roughly the size of Los Angeles! It is denied to even exist by many.

  12. U know what I’ve read ALLLL the posts – like all the old sayings. DO THE CRIME DO THE TIME – u have a brain people DON’T BREAK THE LAW its that simple!

  13. Yes i beliveing in punishment,,,, but abusing the human rights of the prisoner is very very wrong.

  14. patrick b, world prison project on

    the fact that you have U.S. prisons on this list makes in so laughably ridiculous. it just shows you really haven’t a clue. there isn’t a single prison in the whole of the united states that is worse than any prison on the whole continent of africa. hell, throw in the entire middle east, a good portion of south america, and the majority of asia (outside of japan, south korea, taiwan). in fact, even the U.S. prisons on your list are safer, more comfortable, and enjoy a higher quality of life than entire nations in this world. by putting out a list like this, and by ranking american prisons ahead of regions around the world littered with prisons that are so horrific in every details, youre diverting attention away from places/people that live in conditions beyond human comprehension. you are doing way more harm than good by spreading this ignorance. oh, and so you know, i’ve spent the past 17 years of my life working in prisons around the world. working to help bring funding, human rights, actual food (yes, there are regions in the world where prisoners are lucky to get 500 calories a day, if anything), actual drinkable water (there are thousands of prisons in regions of the world where the inmates drink actual sewer water). to bring basic sanitation (there are prisons in the world where the sanitation levels are below those of 16th century europe. are below those of anything you could actually comprehend. where 2/3rds of inmates will not survive more than 5 years, because of disease and illnesses that are so easily preventable, that arent even in existance in these american “prisons” on your list). working to bring these inmates any form of medical care. yes, ANY form, b/c they have NOTHING. they dont even have FREAKIN SOPE, so people die every single day (actually many die every day) b/c they were unable to clean a basic scratch, and that turns to infection, that turns to death. let alone any forms of medication whatsoever. yet, you have american prisons that have healthcare better than the “free populations” of the majority of the world. god, ignorance like yours does nothing but help keep things this way.

  15. Interesting article and comments.

    People in the United States need to take their head out of the sand and make a point of doing something with the way our Prisons are ran for one very big reason. Over 80% of those sentenced to Prison will be released back into Society at some point. Spend a little time watching Lock-Up on MSNBC and tell me you want any of those guys on the streets of your community. Guys with Zero tolerance for disrespect even on the smallest level that most people wouldn’t even recognize. Guys who are extremely hardened to other peoples feelings that wouldn’t think twice about victimizing others since that’s how you survive in the Prison environment if need be.

    In Ca our Prisons really are Gladiator Academies for the major gangs and a way to further their advancement within their gang. For them Prison has become a right of passage and a badge of honor for most. This needs to change as does the entire Prison environment which is sculpted bye the actions of these groups. We need to make sure we are not releasing what amounts to superior predators back into the environment we are supposed to be keeping safe to begin with.

    If people cant see the value to all of our lives by changing this then pat yourselves on the back for helping to make someone else a statistic and don’t whine about it when its someone you care about.

  16. I think Guantanamo Bay should be number 1. Not sure what they do there, but pretty sure it’s not very humane.

  17. Wow, you did a lot of research, however your number 1 pick shouldn’t even be on the list.. No American prisons belong on the list.. Prisons out there such as Venezuela where prisoners walk around with guns.

  18. Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell on

    I hate criminals and do have quite a right wing view on criminals/prison etc but even I think these prisons are a disgrace,especially tadmoor.
    If you treat people like animals,when they,if they do,come out of prison they’ll act like animals.
    I think there should be a happy medium where prisons are harsh but not brutal.

  19. Giorgi Giorgadze on

    The Deadiest prison in the world is Gldani #8 Prison in Tbilisi, Georgia. In this prison in former Soviet Republic of Georgia people are systematically raped, beate and killed. It is worse than Abu Ghraib prinson; videos of tortures are available in the Internet.

  20. In my personal opinions prisons like these and all the rest are necessary, now I understand human rights are abused here and some people are unjustly prosecuted but look at it from another point of view, if prison were not like this and were “easier” or built for rehabilitation then civilians would be less inclined to avoid criminal acts. if you knew that if you attacked person X then you would end up in a easy prison or a rehabilitation center you are more likely to think “hmmm it’s not that bad” , to cut things simple the fear of going to prison stops a lot of people committing crimes that is the tertiary role of prisons and not necessarily just punish prisoners. Now my view may be narrow minded so I genuinely appreciate comments which may enlighten my view.

    • I see your point, and it was used successfully some years ago as a reason *not* to make rape a crime punishable by death (because if you were going to face the death penalty anyway, why not kill your one certain witness?) However, let me point out that, while this might work in an ideallized society, part of the problem with these obscenely run prisons is that they include as prisoners PoCs (prisoners of conscience), who are basically innocent people who stood up for civil rights and civil liberties in countries where these were largely denied. Prisons like Evin in Iran have “political wings” where they imprison PoCs side by side with murderers and don’t investigate any mayhem in those cell blocks very closely. My particular interest is two groups of Baha’is currently imprisoned in Iran. One group was appointed to look after the beleaguered Baha’i community to make sure they had food, shelter, etc, because the government is making it harder and harder for them to survive by depriving them of the rights to be educated, to work, etc. They got 20 year sentences. The second group had responded to the governments refusal to let Baha’i youth have access to higher (and sometimes lower) education by creating its own higher education network. Most of these people are not young; one was denied a release to attend the funeral of his wife. There have been cases where Baha’is of all ages have been tortured (electronic whips seem popular, as is the bastinado) because they would not recant their extremely peaceful and non-seditious faith. I would urge you to look up the site for a look at just one instance of how this sort of prison is grossly misused. In this case, a whole lotta people asked themselves if their acts of kindness, charity, and sanity were worth a prison term and said yes.

      • I see what you are saying, the PoC do not belong in prisons, but they are in prison and if prisons allow humans right to be breached, these people who are not necessarily criminals may have there human rights abused for trying to do good. That is unfair.

        I note your point “while this might work in an ideallized society”. I do live in the United Kingdom, it is difficult without seeing these conditions first hand how bad they really are. But that said in countries such as the United Kingdom people are still sent to prison because they fight for a cause (such as Palestine) and will suffer the conditions, albeit not so bad. Although I am aware of this point and I too believe that this is unfair.

        What I am trying to say is that the prisons listed here and many others “take it too far” if that’s a correct term. but in the United Kingdom the prisons (not that I have ever been in one) would not appear to breach human rights so openly, as in guards do not murder prisoners or torture them, deprive them of food etc. and still I would avoid committing a crime to avoid going to a UK prison. So UK prisons still achieve a type of fear of prisons without the conditions that these top 10 and other prisons have.

        So! that all said you are right these types of prisons on this top 10 list are wrong, and the types of criminals inside contain PoC’s which is truly injustice. I shall look at the link you sent me aswell.

        If what I said does not make any sense please let me know, and feel free to respond.

        • I guess in the true idealized society, people would all do good just because of an innate or nurtured moral imperative and would feel no compulsion to commit crimes; likewise, the true idealized society would make provision for people who truly need care, food, housing, etc., and only people in need would make use of these resources. There’s a nice Hadith that says, roughly, “He is a good man who does good for others.” Part of what makes this subject so difficult is that even if everyone started doing good for others right this second, the damage done by conditions of both society as a whole and within families are going to take generations to shake out.

          In response to your second email (found that here when I came over to reply): this is a whole other subject and perhaps the most complex of the lot. I’ve read of cases where long-term prisoners (I’m guessing not the ones in, say, Iran’s Qarzak, which really should be on this list) are so used to the confining routine of prison they can’t function on the outside and so commit crimes to get back in. What is wrong with this picture? There’s such a fine balance with reintroducing long-term prisoners back into society. Society deserves to protect itself, but it should have an obligation to help parolees get off on the right foot better than it does. I had a friend who was an attorney who said she pitied the people who got into the system who truly were innocent because they got exactly the same harsh treatment the guilty did.

      • Something else I thought about after my last reply, I understand that the prisoners themselves abuse other prisoners, this can be difficult to control in some cases. not sure how I would proceed with that one.

        Also Another effect of prisons in western society is the fact that if you have been to prison on leaving prison it becomes far more difficult to find a job, this can be both negative and positive the fact that it is harder to get a job with a criminal record would mean people would again avoid prison but then if you have been to prison life becomes much harder when you come out which can lead to other problems. I kind of gone a bit of topic there I think but I hope you understand what I’m saying.

        Feel free to correct/comment.

  21. Karter Strickland on

    If you did somthing so heinous to end up in these prisons I dont feel sorry for ya. The only time you should kill someone is when someone is threatening your life or the life of your loved ones and in immediate danger of losing your life period end of story.

  22. Michael Blais on

    If this is what passes for journalism, we are in a very sad state indeed. The US prison are far, far better than the a host of other prisions across the world. The author has commited a crime of lazy journalism…or what she thinks passes for journalism. Sad that some people will consider this well researched. It is far from that.

  23. JennaBro-Australia on

    Wow, Heather – great article. You have certainly captured a curious audience – these comments go for miles, and I am fascinated by the controversial interest.

    All I can add is, I find it ironic that guards are murdering people or have the “rights” in some prisons to kill, chop and torture inmates.. Regardless of what the reason they are in prison for. It’s an evil world inside these prison walls.. The human race is scary

    • I lost interest as soon as I saw a US prison on the list. No “first world”, Western country has prisons with the same amount of dire corruption, inhumane conditions & deprivation as most “third world” prisons do. At least in a maximum security jail in a first world country the inmate has regular access to clean water, meals, visits and free legal advice thanks to things like the US constitution, Canadian constitution, European Union Court of Human Rights, etc. which strictly prohibit inhumane treatment of prisoners. A Thai, Turkish or Columbian jail has none of that.

      • I see Sam’s point and, yes, was surprised at the prisons that aren’t on this list. My specific issues is members of the Baha’i Faith in prison in Iran—and in the past few years this has included educators Baha’i kids can be kicked out the public school system just for being Baha’is, and they are flatly denied access to higher education (there’s been a grass roots level attempt to remedy this situation but the administrators and some of the teachers plus a group of 7 (being from the 60’s I like to call them the Tehran 7! Technically they are called the Yarah—a group of helpers whose job it was to make sure the Baha’is in Iran had the basic necessities of life, since it has become illegal for the Baha’is to work in a whole pile of jobs, including anything to do with the government (over there, this includes teachers and administrators, people who work for oil companies etc).

        The other group that puts the government over the line that demarcates “society has the right to protect itself” from “we have utterly given up all claim to our fundamental decency and humanity.” This group was a number of nursing mothers whose nursing infants accompanies their moms to jail with them. I *so* wanted to write an article for something like the Onion about how Ahmadinejad and Khameini were such great supporters of La Leche League that they fully supported the young mothers’ right to cart their kids into some of the filthiest, most crowded prisons in the country. So, you may add to your list Evin, Gohar’dasht, Qarzak (think the old movie “Escape from New York” on a smaller scale, and any of the places in Semnan where the moms with infants have been incarcerated (I don’t think you can even uphold this conviction and sentence by using anything in Shariar Law. And I mention the Baha’is because the atrocities committed against them since the 1979 Revolution (and you can hardly find a more industrious, peace-loving group who are told specifically in their scriptures to be the well-wishers of the government in land in which they love) have been unusually severe. But Iran certainly has more than its fair share of POCs, and prisons like Gohar’dasht have special “political wings” where POCs the government would just like to go away are mixed in with much more violent offenders—and if a death or severe injury happens the guards are told not to inquire too closely. Sorry for the rant. This kind of thing drives me nuts.