The World’s Toughest Prison

Is there a fate worse than death? Is there a scenario where a criminal would gladly choose capital punishment over life imprisonment? Well, as surreal as it sounds, there are prisons in this world that make the death penalty a merciful sentence.

Prisons riddled with unspeakable horror that would make your stomach turn. In this article, I’m going to show you the 10 worst ones, so take a deep breath because things are about to get very ugly.

Number 10: Black Dolphin Prison, Russia

Ask any Russian you know, and they’ll tell you that life in any Russian prison is incredibly tough. But this high-security Black Dolphin Prison redefines that toughness. Located on the Kazakhstan border, Black Dolphin is one of Russia’s oldest prisons, named after the statue at the front of the building which the prisoners built themselves.

However, Black Dolphin is not known for its freedom. In fact, the only way to escape this prison is by dying. Every inmate faces this fate, as only those with life sentences are sent to Black Dolphin. The prison houses around 700 inmates, collectively responsible for a murder count of about 3,500, shared equally. That’s at least five victims per inmate. But murder is not the worst skill on their resumes.

Black Dolphin also houses cannibals, assault perpetrators, maniacs, terrorists, and pedophiles. Inmates are forced to share 50 square foot cells that are secured behind three sets of steel doors. These cells are under 24-hour surveillance, and guards make rounds every 15 minutes. Prisoners hardly leave their cells and, when they do, they’re blindfolded and bent at the waist, so they never get a sense of their surroundings.

There’s no prison yard or cafeteria. Inmates are forced to eat only soup and bread in their dingy cells. If hell was a prison, Black Dolphin would be a strong contender.

Number 9: Barrios, El Salvador

Allow me to introduce you to Aldiki Udad, the most dangerous prison in El Salvador. Home to the notorious MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs, death often comes without warning here. The living conditions are horrendous, and the prison is overcrowded due to a government crackdown on drug trafficking. Tourists who commit minor offenses can find themselves cramped alongside prisoners on death row.

Conditions are beyond harsh. New inmates are required to wear iron chains for their first three months. Maggot-infested food and limited drinking water are the norm. Avoiding Barrios by being a good citizen or tourist won’t save you, as British tourists have been thrown into jail for defending themselves from Thai gangs.

Number 8: Petak Island Prison, Russia

The “Alcatraz of Russia” holds a fearsome reputation, and for good reason. Petak Island sits in isolation on Lake Nosovero. The tiny prison houses 193 prisoners, all with life sentences. Inmates are forced to spend 23 hours per day in their small two-man cells, and escape is impossible. Inmates’ living conditions are worsened by the lack of basic sanitation facilities. No proper toilets or bathrooms are available. The situation on the island is dire, with freezing waters contributing to the harsh environment.

Number 7: Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand Bang

Kwang Prison is one of the worst in the world due to its overcrowding and harsh treatment of inmates. Many inmates were once tourists, making the conditions even more shocking. New inmates wear iron chains for their first three months. Food is often infested with maggots, and clean drinking water is a luxury. Even minor offenses, like reading the wrong book or eating a sandwich in public, can lead to imprisonment in this hellish place.

Number 6: Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

Gitarama Central Prison in Rwanda is severely overcrowded, housing 8,000 inmates in a facility designed for just over 1,300. The damp and unsanitary conditions have led to numerous deaths from disease and suffocation. The lack of basic sanitation facilities forces inmates to endure unimaginable conditions. Gitarama Central Prison is a grim reminder of the dire state of some prison systems.

Number 5: Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Kenya

Kamiti Maximum Security Prison is home to Kenya’s worst criminals. Overcrowding has led to viral diseases like HIV and AIDS running rampant. The prison is known for unrest and corruption, as political dissidents are often dumped there. Inmates are subjected to psychological and physical abuse, and only the smartest, bravest, and most ruthless can survive within its walls.

Number 4: Guldani Prison, Georgia

Guldani Prison gained notoriety in 2012 when a whistleblower leaked a video showing the horrific torture and abuse of inmates by prison guards. Inmates were subjected to brutal physical and psychological torture, revealing a shocking lack of humanity. The conditions have reportedly improved, but the legacy of the prison’s dark past lingers.

Number 3: Mendoza Prison, Argentina

Pavilion 5 of Mendoza Prison in Argentina houses the most dangerous convicts in the country. Overcrowding is a serious issue, with 1,600 inmates sharing a space designed for only 600. Inmates endure random torture, lack proper sanitation facilities, and suffer from extreme hunger. The prison is a harrowing example of the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Number 2: Arbakir Prison, Turkey

Arbakir Prison in Turkey has a history of extreme abuse and torture. Kurdish prisoners suffered horrendous forms of torture in the 1980s and 90s. The prison is known for physical and psychological torture, and children are also locked up within its walls. Inmates are subjected to brutal violence, and conditions are dehumanizing and deadly.

Number 1: Camp 22, North Korea

Camp 22 is a series of prison camps stretching across North Korea, housing up to 200,000 prisoners. Inmates endure extreme starvation, forced to eat rats and insects to supplement their meager diet. Physical and psychological torture is routine, and the camp’s conditions are beyond inhumane. Camp 22 stands as a chilling example of the worst aspects of human cruelty and suffering.

In conclusion, these prisons represent some of the darkest and most horrifying places on Earth. The stories of the suffering and abuse endured by inmates within their walls serve as a stark reminder of the need for reform and humanity within the global prison system.