Here are photos of the 10 World’s Most Unusual Prisons!
1. San Pedro Prison ( Bolivia ): where inmates have to ‘buy’ their cells
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San Pedro prison, the biggest in Bolivia ‘s main city, La Paz , is home to about 1,500 inmates. Once you pass the thick walls and the security gates, any resemblance to a normal jail disappears: there are children playing, market stalls, restaurants, hairdressers and even a hotel. It looks more like the streets of El Alto , Bolivia ‘s poorest neighborhood that sprawls on the outskirts of La Paz , than a prison. There are no guards, no uniforms or metal bars on the cell windows. This relative freedom comes at a price: inmates have to pay for their cells, so most of them have to work inside the jail, selling groceries or working in the food stalls.
2. Cebu Prison ( Philippines ): meet the world’s most famous dancing inmates
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Nothing says entertainment quite like murderers, drug dealers and sex offenders dancing to pop music in unison. Likely you’ve seen at least one of the viral videos posted online from Cebu prison in the Philippines – their “Thriller” video was ranked fifth in Time magazine’s list of Top 10 Viral Videos.
3. Justizzentrum Leoben ( Austria ): a 5-star prison
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Beautiful glass and stainless steel office building? Nope – that’s a five-star prison in Styria , Austria
4. Kresty Prison ( Russia ): world’s most overcrowded prison
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Russia’s prisons have a reputation for being the most overcrowded on earth, especially Kresty Prison in St. Petersburg . The official capacity is set at 3,000, but the actual population is always at least 10,000. Each prisoner is also said to only be allowed 4 square meters of space each and 15 minutes a week (a week!) to shower.
5. Sark Prison ( Guernsey ): world’s smallest prison
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Sark Prison is located on the Island of Sark in Guernsey.It was built in 1856 and is apparently the smallest in the world. It can house 2 prisoners at a push and is still used for overnight stays – if you continue to play up after that you’ll get shipped off to a proper grown-up jail with corridors and staff.
6. ADX ( Colorado ): the Super-maximum security prison
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The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) is a supermax prison in Florence , Colorado , USA . This is the ultimate prison, literally. Since it opened in 1994, ADX is nothing but slow and inhumane torture. Inmates are only allowed out of their cells for 9 hours a week and barely interact with anyone. There’s hardly any sunlight and you have to do everything in your cell.
7. Aranjuez Prison ( Spain ): a prison with cozy family cells
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Welcome to a jail Spain says is the only the one in the world with cell units for families: Disney characters on the walls, a nursery, a playground for toddlers.
8. Bastoey Island low security prison ( Norway ): first ecological prison
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The Bastoey Island low security prison uses solar panels for energy, produces most of its own food, recycles everything it can and tries to reduce its carbon footprint. The solar panels have cut the prison’s electricity needs by up to 70 percent. Hoping to install a sense of responsibility in their inmates, the authorities aim to instill a strong sense of responsibility towards mankind and our environment as well.
9. Cereso Chetumal ( Mexico ): where inmates solve their problems boxing
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CERESO Chetumal is a unique prison that has seen no violence in ten years and that has an excellent arts/crafts program that teaches the prisoners and sells to tourists. According to Warden Victor Terazzas, “when there is a disagreement, we have the inmates involved put on the gloves and get into the boxing ring, after about two rounds the dispute is over.”
10. Alcatraz ( California ): world’s most famous prison
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Alcatraz Island , sometimes informally referred to as simply Alcatraz or locally as the Rock, is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California , United States . It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986. Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours.