There were 11,000 deaths when one of these prisons went out-of-order


Prisons are a correction facility for wrongdoers. But without law and order, some go beyond the limits and create very rude environments. This can lead to being the worst prison as well. Sometimes officials forget that, prisoners are also men. Here we bring you 07 worst prisons in the history of the world. Many are closed today due to their dark past.

Worst Prison Cells in the world
Many of world’s prisons are facing an overcrowding issue. But the below ones had issues beyond the possible expectations.

01. Urga, Mongolia

These prisons had a rather shocking way of keeping the prisoners. Officials confined living prisoners to small coffins having dimensions of 3×4 feet. According to the dimensions of the coffin, the prisoners could not lie down or sit. Additionally, the authorities decided to have them handcuffed during their whole sentence.  Mongolians called this, the Box of Death.  Their whole lifespan at the prison was in this tiny cell. Prison provided food through a small 6-inch opening in the coffin. The officials placed these enclosures in a dark dungeon and the prisoners lost their eye sight due to the lack of sunlight.

Human waste was cleaned once every two to three weeks. Most of these prisoners died in the coffin itself and they buried them as it is. The ones who survived, had lack of sight and atrophied limbs due to lack of movement. There is no exact date as to which these prisons were established. An American Explorer, Roy Chapman Andrews discovered and wrote about the conditions of these prisons in 1918. It is a known fact that Mongolia still carries out these imprisonment techniques, even though they were banned in 1920. A report by the National Human Rights Commission from 2017 also mentioned that the prisoners were still kept in inhumane conditions.

Is Urga, the Worst Prison?
You can see the prisoner’s face. It has thousands of expressions. No crime in the world would deserve this kind of a punishment.
Urga Prison Cells
The prisoners were said to had depression to the very limit. This was not a rehabilitation center like other prisons, but a torture camp.
Several coffin prison cells at Urga
Did you think that there was only a few of these coffin prison cells at Urga. Well, that is far from the truth. Most of the prisoners were kept in these.

02. Pitesti Prison

This was a political prison in Romania. Although the built year was in 1930s, first prisoners entered here in 1942. The officials and the first prisoners of the facility started brainwashing new coming prisoners via extreme experiments in 1949 as the prisoner count grew gradually. The idea was to get rid of their political and religious beliefs. Apart from several psychological mistreats like stripping in public and calling names to their religious leaders, the prison authorities carried out several physical punishments. They dunked heads of prisoners in urine and feces buckets.

Pitesti Memorial
This is a shot from Pitesti Memorial. Tourists visit day by day, to witness the horrors prisoners underwent in here.

Torturers made Christian inmates to eat feces as Holy Communion. Apart from these, they had to look at a light source for hours and fight with each other using heads. Eventually the authorities closed the prison in 1952. Government said that the torturers had an execution, but no evidence is available to date.

Is Pitesti the worst prison?
The tortures prisoners undergone, qualify Pitesti to be one of the worst prisons in the world. The physical and mental torment was unbearable.
Pitesti Experiment is still studied by scholars to understand how torture can lead to extreme manipulation. 

03. Camp Sumter Military Prison at Andersonville

Britain specifically built this for union soldiers in American Civil War in 1861-1865. The prisoner admissions began in the month of February in 1864. The official capacity was only 10000 prisoners. Out of the 45,000 people imprisoned there during the war, up to 13,000 died. The causes were malnutrition, poor sanitation, disease, and overcrowding.

Map of Andersonville Camp
Andersonville prison was not a typical prison. Like the French Guinea Prison Colony, this resembled a colony of several branch prisons. Look at this original map of the camp.
Is this the worst Prison? Look at the prisoners. This is how they looked when the prison closed.
Is this the worst Prison? Look at the prisoners. This is how they looked when the prison closed.

04. Carandiru Penitentiary

Located in Sao Paolo in Brazil, this prison is like the hell on earth. Established in 1920, Carandiru did not open officially until 1956. But before its opening, it acted as an unofficial torture center. As it was not official, there were less number of guards. There were only 100 guards for the 8000 prisoners there. Yes, what you thought was right. Authorities did not run the prison, but prisoners themselves did it. Imagine being a prisoner among murderers and rapists. HIV AIDS infection was frequent than the common cold in here. Several inmates died daily.

Carandiru Prison in Brazil
Carandiru Prison in Brazil : Look at how pathetic it looks.

This prison went viral due to a gang riot in October 1992. As the prison guards couldn’t control the situation, military stormed in and without even trying to negotiate, they killed 102 inmates. This added to a total of 111, with the count died at the hands of prisoners. This incident led to the formation of Brazil’s most notorious gang, Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC). PCC killed Jose Ismael Pedrosa, who was the prison’s director. Brazilian government immediately sentenced Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, who was the commanding officer at the massacre. PCC murdered him also. The government demolished the prison in 2006, because of its unspeakable history.

Jose Ismael Pedrosa
Jose Ismael Pedrosa, Carandiru Prison Director
Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, who was the commanding officer at the massacre
Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, who was the commanding officer at the massacre
Carandiru Prison Riot; The Worst Prison in the world?
Prisoners gathered after the Crandiru prison riot

05. The Mamertine

This was one of the oldest and very first of prisons in the world. Romans established it in 640BC. If you want to get an idea of how old this is, St. Peter and St. Paul were both kept in here and later crucified in 64 AD. Normally they put people in here to die of its horrific difficulties and starvation, but these saints survived these, and romans were compelled to crucify them.

This prison had an upper chamber and an underground chamber called, Tullianum. The upper prison is trapezoidal in shape, and there is a plaque naming famous prisoners and their cause of death. Upper chamber was for the torturing purposes. The access to the Tullianum was via a small hole at the floor of the upper chamber. Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls was also imprisoned here until his execution in 46 BC.

Mamertinum at Present Day
Mamertinum (Mamertine) at Present Day; A church has been built over the prison to commemorate the saints killed there
Crucifixion of Saint Peter
Saint Peter was held in the Mamertine and later crucified. His death is famous because he was crucified upside down, causing immense pain and death after breaking of lower limbs.
Saint Paul
Saint Paul was also kept in this prison until his execution

06. HMS Jersey

This was a prison ship and due to its unspeakable tortures, it had the name HMS Hell. HMS stands for Her Majesty’s Ship, depicting the ownership to the British throne. Construction year of the ship was 1736 and its purpose was as a war ship, before using as a prison ship. The purpose of this ship was to imprison the revolutionaries, until they swear allegiance to the British Crown. They took extreme measures to achieve this, that around 11,000 people died of malnutrition and disease. HMS Jersy had capacity for only 1000 prisoners, but it held about 10 times of that. About a dozen prisoners died daily, due to its horrific conditions. Prisoners had no where to sit or stand at least because of the crowd. Rats ate some of them alive as they could not move their limbs.

HMS Jersey - Is this the worst prison ship?
HMS Jersey was built as a warship, but converted to a prison ship upon her end of service. This one is known for its brutal punishments and overcrowding.

07. Hoa Lo Prison

This was a Vietnam prison and its conditions were so bad even by the standards of the horrific war at Vietnam. French built it in 19th century and opened in 1901. Imprisoning American soldiers in Vietnam war between 1955-1975 was its main job. Therefore, it is more of a torture center than a prison. Who entered Hoa Lo never left. Whenever the authorities felt about the overcrowding nature of the prison, they just killed some old prisoners to make room.

Hoa Lao Prison - The Hell in Vietnam
Hanoi, Hoa Lao Prison was known as the place, where no one will return if entered.

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