Incarceration in prisons and other correctional facilities remains the most common punitive exercise
against lawbreakers till this day. However, the security and technology in these prisons has to be kept up to date and secure, so as to ensure that no fantastical, Hollywood- esque prison breaks happen. Following is a list of the top 10 most secure prison facilities from around the world. They range from having simple, architectural security measures to those that are home to the best security and surveillance that modern day technology has been able to devise.
1. Qincheng Prison, China
Soviet Union helped the Chinese in building Qincheng, a maximum-security prison in 1958. Located in the Changping District in the outskirts of Beijing, it is the only prison which operates under the Ministry of Public Security. Originally built for detention of Kuomintang war criminals it was referred as project number 156 due to secrecy. It now houses many high-ranking politicians. The compound is divided into three sections, one of them containing the jail houses. The cells vary according to the prisoner’s social status. Although being given the ‘luxury’ title, the inmates have described being mistreated and watched constantly.
2. Arthur Road Jail, India
Arthur Jail, built in 1926, is Mumbai’s oldest and largest Central Jail. While the jail was originally built for up to 1000 inmates, but it currently has inmates more than twice its capacity, that is, more than 2000 prisoners. The prison is in a very bad condition and there are rumours of human rights violations in the prison premises. Due to the way the prison was designed, no prisoner has been able to escape nor has anyone been able to break in. The fact that the design ensures this even today is very surprising.
3. Tadmor Military Prison, Syria
French mandate forces built the Tadmor Military prison in Syria. It was built in the early 20th
century as a military barrack. it is now considered to be one of the toughest prisons across the world to be incarcerated in. This is due to huge human rights violation and horrible living conditions. The chances of a break in or break out is very less. There are many reasons for this to happen. The prison is situated in the middle of a desert, 200 kms away from Damascus, the capital city. Also, the only way to get in or out of the place is by crawling through an insecure tunnel, which can be very dangerous.
4. La Sante Prison, France
Perhaps the oldest prison in this list, La Sante, built right in the middle of the French capital city of Paris, has historically been famous for being virtually impossible to break out of. Built in 1867, the prison is built in a very simple way, it’s architecture and security measures are very simple and yet effective. There was an instance when close to 200 prisoners, having found what seemed like a sewage pipe, thought of it as an exit to the prison and tried to escape that way, only to be locked in that narrow tunnel. All prisoners suffocated to their deaths.
5. HMP Belmarsh, UK
Her Majesty’s Prison in Belmarsh is categorized as high security prison for ‘Category A’; prisoners. Due to the advanced level of security, it is also termed as the British Guantanamo Bay. Belmarsh was built in 1991, and is situated in Greenwich in South East London. It can hold up to 1000 inmates, which among them include Britain’s most dangerous and violent criminals. The UK government often uses this prison for the detention of prisoners for terrorist related offences. Besides that, there have been reports of terrorising and victimising of the inmates by the prison staff.
6. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, United States
Perhaps one of the most famous prison facilities around the globe, the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary is built 2 kms off the shore of San Francisco, moored on an island. Alcatraz has housed many infamous prisoners like Al Capone and Rafael Miranda. 14 prisoners have tried to break out of Alcatraz till date, and only 5 of them are unaccounted for.
Escape is virtually impossible, because the prison is built on an island. Authorities closed down this maximum security federal prison in 1963. The Alcatraz penitentiary has, in some part, served as an inspiration to author J K Rowling in her creation of the wizard prison Azkaban in the Harry Potter books.
7. Camp Delta, United States
This is the facility which requires no introduction for itself. Camp Delta, more commonly known as the Guantanamo Bay correctional facility, is an annexe to the US military operations in Cuba. The government uses this prison as a detainment centre for prisoners that are considered of the top priority. Guantanamo Bay served as the place where the US, in blatant violation of several human rights acts, incarcerated and tortured suspected members of the terrorist group al- Qaeda. Prison authorities can assign to one single prisoner as many as 12 guards. And even if someone tried escape, they will come out right in the middle of a military base.
8. ADX Florence, United States
The ADX Florence is a prison located in Colorado, USA. Many consider it to be one of the most secure and hard- to- break out of prison facilities all over the world. The penitentiary officials implement a strict maximum lock down policy, and the inmates are lucky to see even a little bit of sun during their entire day. Their is no direct access to the cells, and the guards keep the prisoners incarcerated in their cells for the whole day. Hence, no prisoner has an opportunity to plan or execute an escape. People informally call this prison ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’, because of its strict and severe security.
9. Federal Correctional Complex, United States
USA’s Federal Correctional Complex, located in Indiana, is one of the most secure prison facilities all over the world. This is a maximum- security prison that employs a very minimal number of staff. The advanced, avant- garde security and surveillance systems include 360 degree surveillance cameras with facial recognition and motion sensing. There is a system of biometrically locking the cells. Hence, breaking out of this prison is nearly impossible.
10. Fuchu Prison, Japan
Fuchu Prison in the western region of capital Tokyo in Japan is another example of extreme security prisons around the world. In fact, Fuchu has a clear track record of zero successful inmate escapes till now. Fuchu prison was also home to the war prisoners and criminals of World War II in the past, and is now home to some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals in Japan. The country has managed to keep the extensive and technologically advanced security measures a secret from the rest of the world. Japan doesn’t want the world knowing the security detail of this prison, to prevent possibilities of an outside help to break in to the prison.