Thursday, November 15, 2007


1. world’s most valuable prison

San Quentin State Prison, California

capacity: 3317

The land underneath 154yr old san quentin state prison is estimated to be worth $80 to $100 million, instantly making it the most valuable prison in the world. it occupies 275 acres of oceanfront land overlooking the bay, some say the most valuable real estate in the whole country. that got me thinking, what’s the insurance like on these places?

2. world’s smallest prison

Sark Prison, Sark, Guernsey

capacity: 2

Sark prison is located on the island of sark in guernsey, 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.

now, there aren’t many photos of sark prison but on all of them i’ve failed to see a single window. nice. like living in a bread-bin.

3. world’s most secure prison

Adx Supermax, Florence, Colorado

capacity: 550

This is the king of all prisons, and I mean the evil king. to be fair, it’s what a prison should be: harsh. even the name means business, supermax prisons being the securest in the world.

this ‘high-tech alcatraz’ was opened in 1994 and is home to only the most violent and dangerous criminals in the country. those pesky prisoners have absolutely no contact with each other at any time and spend 22 hours per day in solitary confinement (cell size 7ft x 8ft), leaving plenty of time to consider what to have as their last meal (by the way, mine would be steak, griddled asparagus and creamy mash). a lot of convicts who enter adx, understandably, lose their mind pretty soon after entering and unless you own a sentence of 25yrs or over you aint getting in.

4. world’s strangest prison

San Pedro, Bolivia

capacity: 800

Convicts at san pedro in bolivia have to pay rent for a cell and they all have jobs within the prison. a large number have partners and children staying with them and tourists/backpackers are allowed to enter the prison but must be accompanied by a tour guide (a prisoner) for safety reasons (wtf?!). tourists can even stay the night in a cell for a small fee and a large number of them frequent the jail in order to buy cocaine from inmates as it’s apparently the purest and cheapest in Bolivia.

it’s also been suggested that local police only enter the facility to collect bribes.

5. world’s best-looking prison

Leoben Justice Centre, Steiermark, Austria

capacity: 205

Yes, it’s a prison. it was created by hohensinn architektur.

it reminds me of ikea, and i have to say i think i’d rather be locked up in the actual prison - i’d be less likely to punch someone in the head due to frustration. seriously though, why spend the effort and time making a prison look that attractive? was there absolutely nothing else to focus on? if i was a homeless steiermarkian i’d be assaulting people in front of coppers and spitting on police cars until i was arrested.

6. world’s most famous prison

Alcatraz / The rock, San Fransisco Bay, California

capacity: 336

If i was gonna be incarcerated i’d choose alcatraz as my battleground.

the island served as a prison for 29yrs, ceasing operation in 1963. it was a hardcore ‘inescapable’ jail and many prisoners found the surrounding water as an invitation to try and flee. officially no-one succeeded (sean connery?), but ‘thirty-four prisoners were involved in 14 attempts, two men trying twice; seven were shot and killed, two drowned, five were unaccounted for, and the rest were recaptured’. good effort though.

7. world’s most overcrowded prison

Kresty Prison, St. Petersburg, Russia

official capacity: 3,000

Russia’s prisons have a reputation for being the most overcrowded on earth, especially kresty prison in st. petersburg.

actual population: always at least 10,000

number of square metres per prisoner allocated by the russian government: 4

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