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Top 10 Deadliest Prisons in the World

Updated on October 16, 2012

The best thing about these prisons? You're not in them. Worst part? You could be...

La Sante Prison France

Either French crooks are soft or La Sante - which roughly translates as "health" in French - is a truly scary and mentally disintegrating place. More than 100 prisoners commit suicide each year. A former prison doctor wrote she was left horrified at how deranged some inmates were, and stunned when others attempted to kill themselves by swallowing rat poison, forks and drain cleaner. Prisoners would stuff clothes into the cracks of their cells to keep rats out while systematic rape was common.

Al-Ha'ir Prison Saudi Arabia

Home to some of the Middle East's worst, this place could break anyone. One prisoner detailed his padded cell with fluoro lights beaming down 24/7 and no contact with the outside world. Conditions are so bad inmates still protest, even if it means their death. In 2002, a fire lit by inmates killed 140 of their own and 40 guards. Death from torture is common.

Tadmor Military Prison Syria

Syrian poet Faraj Bayraqdar only spent five years at Tadmor, but that was enough for him to call it "the kingdom of death and madness." That's flattering says Human Rights Watch, which details "extreme brutal abuses" since the early 1980s, with everything nasty from "deaths under torture to summary executions on a massive scale". Guards are so unhinged that inmates have reportedly been cut up with axes, tied up with rope and dragged around to death, or simply been beaten with metal pipes.

Black Beach Equatorial Guinea

Amnesty International says being locked up in this prison in Malabo is "a slow, lingering death sentence." Starvation is a regular cause of death, so poor are the rations, while torture is especially brutal and includes old fashioned beating on the soles of feet and burning. Medical care is denied as rats wander freely, and human waste overflows from buckets in the cells and corridors.

La Sabaneta Prison Venezuela

Over-crowded and corrupt, prison staff struggle to maintain any control here. Rich inmates rule the roost but even they can't escape the disease - cholera once wiped out 700 inmates. With no activities allowed, violence is more a means of communication than a worst-case scenario. In 1994, 100 inmates were massacred, and prisoners use weapons made from whatever they can lay their hands on to kill you with.

Petak Island Prison Russia

This is Russia's Alcatraz, built on an island to house the worst of the worst - criminals who would be dead if Russia still had the death penalty. Even the prison psychologist, Sventlana Kiselyova, says its conditions lead inmates to be "psychologically destroyed". They spend 22.5 hours a day in their cell and "outside" is a small cage. "Homosexuals are the ones that come off best - at least they aren't starved of physical and emotional contact," the psychologist says.

Camp 22 (Kwan-Li-So No.22, Haengyong) North Korea

An estimated 2000 of it's 50000 inmates die each year due to starvation, beatings or executions. Set out like a Nazi concentration camp, rare inside accounts tell of detailed hard labour, physical abuse, routine rape and chemical experiments.

Gitarama Prison Rwanda

With most prisoners in for genocide-related crimes, very little love is lost as more than 6000 prisoners are said to cram into a site built for 500 inmates. Even food has been so scarce that reports of cannibalism are common. Condition are said to have improved in recent years after raw feces were found on wet floors and gangrene lead to amputations. But that doesn't allay the violence and mental disintegration that comes with putting so many crooks in the one place at a time when they can't even move.

Bangkwang Thailand

Not to be confused with the fictional cakewalk Nicole Kidman went through in the '80s mini-series Bangkok Hilton, this place is a hell hole, where no inmate is in for less than 25 years. For the first three months they wear leg irons, and if on death row, leg irons are permanently welded on. The guards are out-numbered 50 to 1, so it's every man for himself. If you're sick, a lethal injection on death row is probably the best and most effective medication you can hope for.

Texas State Penitentiary USA

There are plenty of tough prisons in the US. San Quentin and Rikers Island are legendary. In Colorado, the ADX concrete and steel sees prisoners suffer almost complete isolation and lose the plot. But the Huntsville, in Texas is the deadliest, as it's where the most executions in the US take place - 19 scumbags have been terminated here since January last year, helping Texas stay sane and safe. However if you are as badass as this guy then you are almost certainly going to wind up here!!!!!!


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Just to clarify, the death penalty does -not- keep Texas safe. There is no conclusive link between crime rates (or violent crime rates, for that matter) and the use of execution.

    • oldiesmusic profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Lesson for all those who live in these countries. Just don't commit crimes! You may end up one of these prisons. Sadly though, there are some convicted who are falsely accused and they end up these places of hell.

      Unusual hub topic... Really interesting.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      That last one I read said San quinten was the worst but I just watched locked up abroad where someone got locked up in Los teques and I'd say that one takes the cake where prisoners have guns and play soccer with someone's decapitated head... Anyone in American prisons better thank their lucky stars the worst this that happens is lethal injection!

    • s4176766 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      in my experience the ones that have been forced to close or shut down because of the conditions or atrocities attributed to them have been pretty good at keeping that sort of information to themselves

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      7 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      What is it about Texas that you chose it over San Quentin? Purely the execution rate? Have you looked at the gang and death/murder statistics within both prisons? Just curious. Have you ever researched the deadliest institutions that have been shut down or forced to close? Great hub!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Perhaps they should transfer the prisoners that are on death row or US maximum security prisons to these foreign prisons and they will die a slow and excruciating death. Just a suggestion.

    • RedElf profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I am very happy NOT to be headed for any of these places, even as a visitor. Well done!

    • s4176766 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      purely for the fact tht everybody has heard about these places, decided to include more places that some people might not have heard about

    • profile image

      F Welch 

      7 years ago

      What about Guantanomo Bay, Cuba? What about Abu Graib, Iraq?

    • s4176766 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      cheers mate good to hear you enjoyed it

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What an interesting and well researched Hub! Great job. Voted Up and Useful, and posted on FB & Twitter!



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