There are a wide range of prisons all over the world, some designed to rehabilitate the inmates, and others are designed to simply punish prisoners, or act as a deterrent against crime. The deadliest prisons normally fall into the latter. They are often underfunded, and overpopulated. If you get sent to one of these prisons you may never get out. This is a list of the 10 deadliest prisons in the world.


Carandiru Penitentiary

In 1992 a bloody massacre occurred leaving over 100 inmates in this prison dead, and the rest wondering whether they would survive the rest of their sentence. Military police stormed the prison located in Sao Paulo, Brazil to end a prison riot. The guards made no attempt to negotiate with the prisoners and instantly sent for the military police, the incident is seen as one of the worst human rights violations in Brazilian history. The prison is also famous for it’s terrible health conditions, 1 in 5 prisoners have contracted H.I.V. Carandiru is considered by many people to be one of the deadliest prisons in the world.


Tadmor Prison

Tadmor was a brutal Syrian prison run by Hafez al-Assad. It was one of the most savage and inhumane prisons in recent history. Amnesty international described it as a place of “despair, torture and degrading treatment.” They claimed “every aspect of it was designed to dehumanize its inhabitants.” The Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organisation founded in Egypt, attempted to assassinate Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, they threw two grenades, and shot at him with a machine gun. Assad kicked away one grenade and his bodyguard threw himself on the other. After surviving this Assad initiated the Tadmor Prison Massacre, and ordered his troops to execute every prisoner on sight. The prison was captured and destroyed by ISIS in 2015.


La Sabaneta Prison

La Sabaneta Prison is dangerously understaffed. There is only 1 guard for every 150 prisoners, meaning if the prisoners decide to riot, or revolt, there is no way to stop them without bloodshed. The prison has countless violent incidents. It was only designed to house less than half the amount of inmates it actually has. The prison is famous for it’s terrible hygiene and corruption, this isn’t a prison where people go in to become rehabilitated, instead prisoners often continue to exploit the corrupt system for everything they can. Prisoners live in cramped corridors, without real beds, and experts claim the lack of mental stimulation pushes them towards violent behaviour.




Prisoners in Mendoza prison have sewn their mouths shut to protest the extreme conditions they’re living in. The prison is overpopulated, and has three times as many prisoners as it’s designed to be able to hold. To control the large population guards don’t shy away from lockdowns, or torture. Most of the inmates haven’t even been tried or sentence, but they often come out more dangerous than they go in. The guards mercilessly abuse the inmates. Some inmates have been inside the prison for years and haven’t even been tried. The guards will not only abuse the inmates but their families as well.


Diyarbakir Prison

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Diyabakir has a fierce authoritarian management, the prisoners rights are completely disregarded and the hallways are covered in sewage. The prison became notorious because of it’s brutal massacre in 1996. Guards mercilessly killed 10 prisoners, and injured 46. This was not a reaction to a riot, or because the guards feared for their lives, it’s likely the attack was actually pre-meditated by the guards. A delegation concluded that “that the authorities in the government had prior knowledge of this incident and in fact some of them took part in its implementation.” Before the incident had even occurred someone from the district attorney’s office called the hospital staff and warned them to get ready for a large group of inmates coming in with injuries.


Rikers Island


Rikers is an island prison located in America, famous for it’s constant violent attacks from both the inmates and the guards. It’s one of the deadliest prisons in America, and it had to undergo major reforms because of this. Violent crime was almost an everyday occurrence, and the guards had trouble keeping one of the largest prisons in the world under control. It’s one of the deadliest prisons for both prisoners and guards, because of this large teams of specially trained officers have been brought in to create order. There presence has had a major change on the prison, violent crime has gone down rapidly, and it’s getting harder for prisoners to hide weapons. In the past prisoners could get away with pretty much anything but now they’re charged for crimes they commit.


Nairobi Prison

Perhaps the most sickening, and disease ridden prison in the world is Nairobi prison. It’s rare to find a prison as overpopulated as this one. Rooms designed to hold 50 people have more than 250, and the inmates have to sleep on top of each other. Their in constant contact, in completely unsanitary conditions and the hot weather causes extreme sweating. This environment causes diseases to spread easily. Prisoners are forced into the crowded cells, and stay there for years just for being accused of a crime. Due to the fact that prisoners are pressed together, and often aren’t wearing clothes rape has become common.


La Sante Prison


Hundreds of prisoners have already killed themselves to escape this prison. The situation is so bad that weaker prisoners are often beaten and turned into the slaves of stronger prisoners. Punishments against prisoners can be brutal, especially if the guards hold a grudge against them. One prisoner was locked in a cell for 15 days without any water, and almost died because the guards had cut off the water pipes to his cell. Many prisoners have contracted skin diseases because they are allowed to shower only two times a week. This prison also held the last public execution France ever had. On 19th June 1939 they guillotined a prisoner guilty of murdering six people.


ADX Florence, Colorado

ADX is the prison made to replace Alcatraz. The Supermax prison is designed for male prisoners, and claims to have perfected solitary confinement. Prisoners live on their own in a cell, and are allowed no interaction with other humans. They are only allowed out of their cell for two hours a day, and even then have no one to interact with. Prisoners must eat, sleep, and defecate in their room. It’s been described as living in your bathroom for 22 hours a day. The prison runs efficiently, but many people wonder about the psychological harm it could be doing to the prisoners.


Gitarama Central Prison, Rwanda

Out of the world’s deadliest prisons it’s hard to imagine one worse than Gitarama. This prison has almost 20 times the amount of inmates it was built to hold. Guards often beat prisoners to death, and that’s if they aren’t killed by one of the other inmates. A prison this overcrowded is almost impossible to control, not to mention feed. Out of desperation some prisoners have resorted to killing and eating the other inmates. Your chances of survival in this facility are low, and some prisoners have so little room they can only stand, day and night. High numbers of prisoners are referred to the hospital for bite marks, and rotting feet.

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