By definition, almost every prison is dangerous because they're all full of criminals. Sure, there are some white-collar joints that are a little safer than others, but you don’t get to go there unless you worked for Enron. If you commit crimes that are serious business, you might get sent to one of these places. Get ready to be scared straight.
Located in the southeastern corner of Turkey, Diyarbarkir was built in 1980, just in time for a coup d’etat to overthrow the government. It was designated as a martial-law military prison for enemies of the state. Naturally, they weren’t treated very well. Torture was systematic at the prison, with inmates regularly stripped naked and beaten, and that was on good days. The warden of the prison had a German shepherd that the inmates were required to salute. If they didn't, the dog would bite them on the genitals. When new prisoners arrived, they were beaten by a dozen guards and then submerged in a bathtub full of human excrement.
Equatorial Guinea’s most horrific prison, Black Beach is notable for the incredibly vile living conditions that its inmates are subjected to. Located on an island, it’s separated from the rest of civilization for good reason. The name refers to the continual flow of human feces that darkens the ocean all around the prison. Guards beat and tortured prisoners at will, often making them fight in gladiatorial battles for their amusement. The losers were killed. Oh, and the winners were usually killed too, just for good measure.
Overcrowding is one of the most essential recipes for a truly horrific prison. At Rwanda’s Gitarama Prison, 7,000 inmates are forced to share a building that was only made to house 400. After the genocide of the mid-1990s, the prison was filled to the brim, with thousands of inmates dying of suffocation and disease. Because there was not enough food to feed the massive population, some prisoners even turned to cannibalism. And we won't even discuss the toilets.
Let’s be frank: you don't was to be thrown in jail in the Middle East. Syria's Tadmor Prison is the site of one of the worst prison massacres of all time, where inmates were gunned down by the army in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt. On June 27, 1980, members of the Defense Brigades marched into the prison and began systematically entering cells, executing inmates. The final death toll has never been released, but most accounts put it at about 1,000.
When you consider how insane crime is in Brazil, it should come as no surprise that the prisons are just as crazy. When drug dealers got hauled out of their bunkered favelas and into the pokey, they used to be dispatched to Carandiru, Sao Paolo’s most brutal house of correction. The prison was notorious for keeping inmates in horrifying conditions with no medical care and substandard food. One in five inmates suffered from AIDS. Things came to a head in 1992 when a prison riot prompted armed response by the cops, killing more than 100 inmates, including some who had surrendered and were hiding in their cells.
Bang Kwang Prison
Also known as the "Bangkok Hilton," Thailand’s Bang Kwang is where the nastiest criminals in Southeast Asia wind up. There’s no sentence shorter than 25 years here, so all of these guys are in for the long haul. When you're admitted, you have leg irons shackled to your feet that you're forced to wear for months. If you're on death row, they just weld them to your feet, because you’re not getting an appeal.
It’s extremely hard to find verifiable information about the 0WK Prison in the Czech Republic. That’s probably because nobody gets out of it alive. The facility is located almost entirely underground, with each inmate in a stone cell approximately four feet by six feet. Prisoners are kept naked at all times, with only their restraints for modesty. Their toilets are buckets in their cells that are emptied once each day. Oh, and its name wasn't "0WK." That was just how the CIA referred to it. It didn't even have an official name.
La Sante Penitentiary
You don’t need to be arrested in a brutal dictatorship to go to a vile prison. Located in Paris's 14th arrondissement, La Sante Prison is notorious for having one of the highest suicide rates in the Western world. More people kill themselves here every year than in the entire prison population of California. The prison was so infested with rats at one point that inmates were forced to strip down and stuff their clothes into cracks in the walls to keep the vermin from attacking them while they slept.
Petak Island Prison
The worst of the worst Russian criminals get packed off to Petak Island, a grim outcropping of rock in the White Lake. Nobody has ever escaped from this prison, which is saying something. Unlike some of the other prisons on this list, it’s not uncontrolled chaos that makes Petak Island so dangerous. Instead, it’s the horror of strictly regimented, soul-crushing order. Prisoners are kept two to a cell, which they stay in for 22 and a half hours a day. The rest of the time they're in wire cages outside. No bathrooms. No libraries. Two visits a year. Most go insane. You would too.
Next: 100 Very Hot Victoria's Secret Models
If you really want to see how brutal imprisonment is done, you need to head to North Korea. The Hermit Kingdom is notorious for rounding up everyone suspected of not loving the Dear Leader and packing them off to prison camps. The most famous is Camp 22, with 50,000 prisoners. The North Korean government denies that it even exists despite satellite photos to the contrary, so you know it can't be good. Reports from inside tell scary tales of medical experiments on unwitting prisoners, including being made to eat poisoned cabbage leaves at gunpoint. Check, please!