Blast From the Past

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Prison II

My last post looked at how "bad" prisons apparently are.

This time, a look around the world - I shall let you see how nice and cushty prisoners in Britain are compared to the rest. As always, please let me know your views.


Criminals in the former Soviet state are still sent to the “gulags”

Russia has 900,000 prisoners and many are held in the 120 remote hard labour camps which date from Communist dictator Stalin’s brutal reign.

During winter temperatures can fall to -40°C. Inmates are expected to cover their own costs and often have to cut timber in bitter conditions to earn cash.

City jails are just as tough. Kresty prison in St Petersburg, where revolutionary Leon Trotsky was once held, was built for 1,000 inmates — but now holds ten times that figure.

Up to 14 people share cells measuring just over 9ft by 9ft.

Food is very basic and rationed and Russian prisoners complain of malnourishment.

The conditions have led to poor health among inmates with one in ten contracting TB.

Russia’s crime rate is 1,754 per 100,000 people. However, the country has an extremely high murder rate — four times that of America.


Greece has a prison population of around 8,841 in 25 boot camp-style jails.

In Athens’s Drapetsona detention centre, inmates — who can be detained there for up to a year — sleep on the floor, receive only basic food and little medical care.

Prisoners are expected to buy their own toothpaste and other toiletries and use crude toilet and washing facilities.

Detainees here are not allowed access to social workers or other state services. Greece’s largest jail is the Korydallos Prison Complex, which houses some 2,200 inmates.

Its claustrophobic cells measure 6½ft by 10ft and prisoners are confined to their beds while under lock and key.

Criminals on remand in Athens’s Kolonos police station jail also sleep on cell floors and are not allowed baths or hot water.

Wardens feed them just one basic meal each day.

Greek crime is 4,145 offences for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Saudi Arabia

Westerners held inside Saudi Arabia’s no-mercy penal system often complain about harsh conditions — but very few risk becoming repeat offenders.

Around 23,000 adult inmates are behind bars in 30 jails and more than half are foreign nationals.

Saudi’s largest prison al-Hair, in the capital of Riyadh, is modern and clean but offers only the most basic of “comforts”.

Jailed British expats complain of brutal conditions in al-Hair and other Saudi jails. They claim wardens regularly use axe handles and iron bars to extract confessions.

Four hundred prisoners held at Al-Jawf’s central prison recently rioted over conditions.

Inmates wanted newspapers, doors on bathrooms and recreation facilities.

Saudi has just 405 offences per 100,000 people — the lowest crime rate of the nations on this page.


Scores of inmates leave Brazil’s tough prison system before the end of their sentences — but only in wooden boxes.

Brazil’s 512 prisons — known as presídios — are among the harshest in the world.

Sao Paulo’s Carandiru jail is Latin America’s largest jail, holding 6,500 inmates.

Prisoners live in dormitory cells laid out along long corridors. Inmates depend on relatives to provide bedding, mattresses, clothing and toiletries.

Brazil also locks up criminals inside local police jails. These often consist of a covered patio flanked by cells.

An inmate in one such jail in Minas Gerais said: “Every Friday we have a full search. Everyone is forced to strip naked and wait on the patio, often in the cold.”

Conditions at Mata Grande Penitentiary in Rondonopolis are so bad inmates regularly riot or try to escape. Thirteen were killed during one break in March 2000.

Brazil has just 927 offences per 100,000 people.


The French prison system is said to suffer from serious overcrowding and unhygienic conditions.

A recent report by the Paris-based International Observatory of Prisons revealed the average jail was working 25 per cent beyond its capacity.

In Mans prison for instance, 135 people share just 45 places.

The report also claimed conditions in most jails were unsanitary and the head doctor of Paris’s La Sante prison has told how mattresses were filled with lice, cells were infested with rats and inmates became so depressed they swallowed rat poison.

A report by the Council Of Europe also described French jails as “repulsively dirty”.

France has a much smaller prison population than Britain, with 61,000 inside. Its crime rate is 6,932 reported offences for every 100,000 people.


The US got tough on their dangerous criminals by building “super-max” prisons.

They are used to hold the worst kinds of murderers and rapists.

One of the harshest regimes is in Ohio state penitentiary in Youngstown where prisoners spend 23 hours a day in small, sealed metal cells.

Cell lights are never turned off and lags are never allowed outside into the fresh air. They are granted just one hour of exercise a day, undertaken alone in a bare room.

Whenever an inmate leaves the cell block they have to wear a set of rigid metal handcuffs.

There are more than 50 such supermax jails for the “worst of the worst”.

The country has 1.96million prisoners and the crime rate dropped last year.

There were 4,118 crimes per 100,000 people in 2002.


Gargoyle said...

Australia 2002: ~9,000 crimes per 100,000 people.

Penal system: Rehabilitation in style, trade courses, education, 3 square meals a day with snacks, TV, etc, etc...

Carrot and a BIG stick IS the way to go!

PCFrankyFact said...

How many does Britain have?

PC South West said...

I know that prison should not be a place people want to go back to.
It should be a place that people would avoid at all costs.
Maybe there should be e certain type prison that is set aside for the most violent or serious offender, more like the ones you mention.
It also costs way too much to keep people in prison so that needs to be addressed too.
Prison is NOT a deterant at the moment! it should be!

I had to type this twice because blogger went down as I posted. Hope this one works.

Anonymous said...

The next politician who uses that bloody annoying phrase, "NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE" will get booted off the Band Wagon. God that annoys me so much!!!!
PC Common Sense

BigFellainBlue said...

I agree with PC Southwest the system as it is doesnt work and our prisons should be more robust and hard - it shouldnt be Butlins.

The Home Office letter which was sent out was surely a joke and as for the judge who freed the paedophile should be locked up its a disgrace. I bet the local force has now got to protect this scumbag after trying to get him locked up, I wouldnt want that job.

Anonymous said...

There are about 80,000 prisoners in the UK at the moment.

How come in the UK, everybody goes on a about the European Human Rights Act. This means that France should surely have the same law. So how come they have jails with worse conditions than ours?

Oh yeah, our government 'is soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime'. I think that's right!!!

Anonymous said...

So what if prisoners have to end up sharing a cell. Just think of all the space that that will take up. It means there would be no room for their TV's , radios, DVD players, mobile phones, alcohol, drugs etc.

If they can't do the time, don't do the crime. It's not that hard.

Also, if you are a criminal because of a drug habit. Be thankful that they are making you go cold turkey, and weened off heroin.

Jeff said...

I have visited this give me information about work from home. i like to know more about this site.
This site is very helpful for work from home.

work from home

Anonymous said...

Genial dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you seeking your information.