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San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru
The toughest prison in South America, it was built to housed 2,500 inmates but now has 7,000 prisoners within its dilapidated walls. Lurigancho has a very lax environment where inmates can sell anything – from gadgets, DVDs, and everything marketable including drugs. Cockfighting is a common sight as well as visiting prostitutes known as ‘nurses.’ Prisoners are not segregated and are left to their own devices, wandering around the facility, committing murder and other acts of violence.
Rikers Island Prison, New York
One of America’s most notorious prisons, it was characterized by beatings, stabbings, and brutal treatment not only from the guards but also from inmates who were deployed as ‘enforcers’ by the guards. A hotbed for violence and aggression, it gained media attention in 2007 when an 18-year-old prisoner was beaten senseless with a billy club by other teenage inmates as the guards looked on. It is also known for its cruel treatment of mentally ill prisoners, who often turn to suicide.
San Quentin Prison, California
The oldest prison in the state, it opened in July 1852 where both male and female inmates were incarcerated. Nowadays, it is the largest death row for male inmates in the United States. During the 1930s, corruption was rampant in this prison where inter-racial riots became a normal occurrence and were encouraged by the guards.
Gldani Prison, Tbilisi, Georgia
With its zero-tolerance approach, Georgia may have the lowest crime rates in Europe, but it comes at the cost of tuberculosis epidemics, savage treatment of inmates, and violent sexual assaults in prison, specifically in Gldani.
La Sante, Paris
Ironically, La Sante, which means ‘health,’ is not a good place for prisoners’ mental and physical well-being as they were forced to live in deplorable conditions in overcrowded concrete cells with rats and lice. A virtual hellhole, this understaffed torture chamber of violence can make any person lose his sanity with the harsh daily realities of life. Out of sheer desperation, 122 prisoners committed suicide in 2002 and 73 more by 2003 as many swallowed drain cleaners to end their misery.