Top 10 High Security Prisons on Earth


5. Qincheng Prison

Built in the late 1950’s, Qincheng Prison is a stark reminder of China’s turbulent political history. Acting to house a large amount of political prisoners, many of whom were participants in the Chinese Democracy Movement of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the prison is located in the Changping District in the northwest of Beijing. A maximum security facility, Qincheng was built with aid from the Soviet Union and was originally used in the detainment of Kuomintang ‘war criminals’ as a result of their nationalist action against the Communist government. Qincheng is notorious as a result of both its huge structural and human security, as well as its geographical integrity. Not only is the prison manned by a team of some 5,000 security personnel and built to a very high spec (boasting one of the highest watchtowers in the world), but is situated several thousand feet above sea level, and is, as a result, surrounded on all sounds by treacherous valleys.


4. Alcatraz Island

Featuring this prison may be regarded as a slight tweak of the rules; however what kind of self-respecting list looking into the world’s most notable high security prisons would emit the famous Alcatraz Island? Located in the San Francisco Bay, some two and a half kilometres offshore from San Francisco, California, Alcatraz Island was first built upon in the 1860’s. Originally, a lighthouse was built on the island, as well as a small military fortification and a subsequent prison. This initial facility was used exclusively in the detainment of military prisoners and remained fairly un-notable until it was taken over by the Federal Government in 1933. For the next 30 years, the island would go on to operate as a Federal Prison facility, becoming famous for its supermax security status as well as its celebrity inmates. Famous prohibition era gangsters from Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly to political prisoners such as Rafael Cancel Miranda all called Alcatraz home before it shut down in 1963. Today, the Island remains world famous as an American landmark, and draws an unbelievable amount of visitors each and every year.


3. Fuchu Prison

Not a whole lot is known about this Japanese high security facility; however its reputation for flawless security exists nonetheless. Located in the city of Fuchu, a western region of the Tokyo metropolis, the prison is active in the detainment of some of Japans most notorious criminals. Though a nation known for its somewhat liberal approach when it comes to the conditioning of criminals, there have been several reports from former detainees, as well as foreign journalists, which brand the prison as one of considerable brutality. The security systems in place within the facility are known to be some of the most advanced in the world, as a result- successful escapes are a non-existent occurrence at Fuchu Prison.


2. La Sante Prison

Located within the 14th arrondissement of the French nation’s capital city, Paris, La Santé Prison was constructed in 1867. A formidable structure, both aesthetically speaking and literally, La Santé’ has gained an international reputation as one of the most secure prisoner facilities on the face of the planet. Since its inauguration, La Santé has been home to all manner of high security prisoners, many of which are reflective of Frances various international conflicts and strife’s during this time. During the Second World War, the occupying Germans used the prison for the detainment of members of the domestic resistance, and pretty much anyone who spoke or acted out against the occupation. Due to its clever architecture, La Santé’ is all but fully immune from prisoner breakout, despite its location in the heart of Paris, with numerous failed attempts attracting international media attention over the years.


1. Arthur Road

Built in 1926, Arthurs Road Jail or Mumbai Central Prison as it is also widely known; is both the oldest and the largest prisoner detainment facility in the western Indian city of Mumbai, formerly Bombay. Spreading across some 2 acres of land and possessing a maximum capacity of 1,000 inmates, Arthur Road is currently home to an estimated 2,000 men. As a result, conditions within the facility are understandably squalid, with overpopulation contributing to not just inappropriate living space and human rights infringements but to the spread of disease through lack of sanitation and medical care. The jail is one of the most feared in all of India as a result of this, not to mention its reputation as a completely unbreachable compound. No-one has ever been known to have successfully escaped from Arthur Road, and as a facility serving the fourth most populous area on Earth, conditions are set to worsen.

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