Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Ten Most Brutal Prisons in the World

Certain prisons, both old and new, are notorious for violence and some easily out perform others in the horror stories stakes. A web site entitled 'Dirty rotten scoundrels,' which is into list making, outlines in their author's opinion the 10 worst prisons in the world. America, come on down! We lead the world with three hits amongst the top ten.

1. ADX, Colorado – This is the ultimate prison, literally. Since it opened in 1994, ADX is nothing but slow and inhumane torture. Although those there are the worst of the worst, human rights protestors from all over the world have targeted it. Inmates are only allowed out of their cells for 9 hours a week and barely interact with anyone. There’s hardly any sunlight and you have to do everything in your cell. If ever there was a way to destroy any semblance of hope an individual had then ADX is it!

2. Tadmor Military Prison, Syria – This is one of the most brutal prisons ever. Torture, executions and untold brutality goes on within these walls. The medieval methods of torture have been well documented. Innocent and guilty alike have been dragged via a rope until they’re dead, beaten to death with pipes and chopped into pieces with an axe.

3. Carandiru Penitentiary, Brazil – Prison massacres, HIV, legalised torture… Whatever you can imagine from a prison, they have it here. A fifth of all 7,500 inmates have HIV and the vast majority of them didn’t have it when they first walked through the gates. On top of that, if they have to have surgery then forget the anaesthetics. Apparently, anaesthetic is a luxury soothe patients are operated on without anything to numb the pain at. Instead, they’re left to scream.

4. La Sante Prison, France – La Sante is well known for its suicide figures, with 124 suicides occurring in 1999 alone. Prisoners have actually eaten rat poison to escape the depravity here. Some prisoners become slaves, others only leave their cells for 4 hours a day and the violence is horrendous. The punishment block has no running water and many are left down there for days because of minor misdemeanours. The treatment just isn’t humane by any stretch of the imagination.

5. La Sabeneta Prison, Venezuela – With 1 guard to 150 inmates here its no wonder that this is one of the worst prisons on Earth right now. Corruption and bribery run riot here, and that’s just the staff! The prisoners are worse with 624 inmates being hurt and 196 being murdered within the walls in 1995 alone. Yes, all of that happened in just one year!

6. Rikers, New York – 5 years ago, this prison would’ve been at number 1 on the list but recent reforms have forced a dramatic improvement so it’s a little tamer than it used to be. For example, the 70 stabbings that take place there every year now used to be around 1,000 a decade ago. The violence is legendary and guards reported that they lived in fear of their lives. Although this isn’t the case anymore, it’s a ghost that’ll haunt the prison forever.

7. Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey – This is a lovely prison to be in. With children imprisoned for life and guards masterminding attacks against the prisons, it’s definitely less than a safe place to be. Prisoners are classed largely as political so they have no rights whatsoever. This may sound a little like the Dark Ages, and it really is.

8. San Quentin State Prison, California – As one of the world’s best known prisons, San Quentin is synonymous with violence, executions and the worst of the worst criminals in California to date. It has over 1500 employees and they still can’t control the inmates. The riots in February 2006 proved a good example of that. Racial attacks led to 100 prisoners being badly injured and 2 killed. That’s not the only incident but it’s a great example of just what goes down behind the walls.

9. Mendoza Prison, Argentina – It isn’t the violence here that you have to worry about but the conditions that you’d have to survive if you were sent there. The prison should cater for 600 prisoners but there are over 1000 more there than should be so the overcrowding is horrendous.

10. Nairobi Prison, Kenya – Some prisons make their way onto the list of worst prisons not because of violence but because of the conditions that they house prisoners in year in and year out. Inmates here tend to be naked and infected with horrible diseases that kill them slowly. Overcrowding means that they don’t get the medical help they need and most die in agony.

There was a film released last year entitled 'America's Brutal Prisons,' so we have our own top ten. The film visits correctional institutions in Texas, Florida and California, uncovering penal systems with deeply ingrained cultures of punishment, rather than rehabilitation.

The film features actual videos recorded by prison surveillance cameras and correction officers that reveal incidents in which inmates are brutalized. These disturbing scenes
are supplemented by interviews with former prisoners, a warden, a prison doctor,
inmatesĂ­ relatives, attorneys, and footage from a California Senate inquiry and a murder
trial of four guards.

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