While the United States of America is lauded for many things, its prison system does not live up to the mark and has been questioned by many for rampant human rights abuses.
America has one of the largest networks of prisons than any other developed country in the world, which is a major reason why authorities are unable to properly manage and operate them.
According to recent stats, over 2.3 million people are locked up in American prisons, most of whom are Black African American citizens. Additionally, it is not possible to come by any reliable number but estimates suggest that over 81,622 prisoners were held in one or another form of solitary confinement.
What is the Impact of COVID-19 on American Prisons?
It was until the COVID-19 Led pandemic which revealed just how dire the situation is in American prisons. Over 2,700 inmates lost their lives in custody since they were not given access to timely medical care, and the number is said to be even higher.
Despite this, no serious actions have been taken by both state and federal authorities and due to this, prisoners actively face daily struggles to stay safe from gangs and sexual violence, get access to prison education and programs, and access other necessities.
11 worst prisons in the United States of America:
The following are the worst American prisons:
- The ADX
- Ely State Prison, Nevada
- San Quentin State Prison
- Sing Sing Correctional Facility
- Idaho Correctional Center
- Angola Prison: Sixth Worst Prison in the US
- United States Penitentiary
- Rikers Island
- Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility
- Julia Titwiler Prison
- Holman Correctional Facility
1. The ADX:
Also known as the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. The prison is America’s only federal supermax facility, and very little is known about it to the outside world. Had it not been for the lawsuit filed by 11 former ADX inmates, no one would have known how dire things are and what kind of harshness every day prisoners have to go through.
The ADX is designed to house 500 prisoners and is famous to keep prisoners like the Boston Marathon bomber and the Unabomber. Reports revealed that prisoners are kept in 12 by 7-foot concrete cells that are opened by sliding metal doors. There is only a sink, an automated shower, and a 4-inch wide window.
In all its sense, the place is “not designed” to keep humans, and precisely why to serve in this prison is on no one’s list.
2. Ely State Prison, Nevada:
The next one on our list is the Ely State Prison based in Nevada. The prison is a maximum security prison and also houses death row inmates. Similar to the ADX, there is very little known about the prison solitary and death row chamber, however, reports reveal shocking details where the authorities simply do not have single regard for human life.
The prisons are not shown sunlight, their only view of the outside world is through a small window which just shows the sky, they are not allowed to participate in any educational programs but, in fact, are rather made to sit in prison and serve their sentence which often leads many death row inmates under fits before they are finally given the lethal injection.
3. San Quentin State Prison:
San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California, is home to one of the largest death row inmates in the United States of America. Over 737 out of its total 3,000 prisoners are on the waitlist for execution.
While the prison serves quite alright for the non-death row inmates, the prison is hell for the death row inmates. As reported, since death row inmates do not get to do anything other than locked up in overcrowded small cells, it has done major harm to their mental illness; some inmates have been reported to simply go out of control.
4. Sing Sing Correctional Facility:
The fourth worst prison on our list is the Sing Sing maximum security prison in Ossining, New York. The prison houses New York’s worst criminals, including the drug lords and senior gang members.
Very little has been revealed about the prison. Had it not been for Ted Conover’s book Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, an author who served as an officer at the prison, the outside world would not have a clue as to what is going on there.
The book describes the Sing Sing Correctional Facility as a prison filled with frequent gang fights, sexual violence, decrepit building, roof leaks during rains, and guards using excessive force on inmates.
5. Idaho Correctional Center:
Idaho Correctional Center, Kuna, Idaho, is famous for being the world’s largest private prison which is operated by a private company known as the Correctional Corporation of America.
The prison is famous for its epidemic of gang violence. Such that gang violence is encouraged by the guards instead of being controlled. This puts the life of inmates in a constant struggle to survive.
6. Angola Prison: Sixth Worst Prison in the US:
The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana, is one of the US’s largest maximum security prisons as it can hold up to 6,000 inmates and is built on an area of an 18,000-acre campus. Angola is famous for housing an older population since prisoners who were given a sentence of 40 years are housed.
What makes this prison a terrible place to be is the lack of maintenance in the prison and medical care.
The inmate population is not given proper access to medical care, nor their cell rooms and facilities are improved and due to this, the living conditions in prison are deteriorating and require urgent attention.
7. United States Penitentiary:
Located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, the prison is America’s most overcrowded supermax prison, which has faced several lawsuits from former prisoners. Former prisoners say that prisoners are locked deliberately with their enemies for days in solitary confinement, and this practice has caused several deaths.
Reports also claim that if guards find any prisoner to be “non-cooperative,” they are strapped to their bunks for hours.
8. Rikers Island:
Rikers Island Prison, New York, is one of the most overcrowded prisons that has housed over 12,000 inmates, including children. The prison has 10 separate jails and is located on an island.
There have been multiple lawsuits against this prison ranging from killings, sexual violence, guards being non-cooperative, condition of the prison deteriorating, and more.
9. Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility:
Located in Leake County, Mississippi, the prison is operated by GEO Group and houses youth members of ages as low as 13. Things in prison got so worse that the Federal Judge had to take notice since kids were frequently subjected to sexual assaults and other inhumane acts, including psychological abuse through the means of long-term solitary confinement.
The prison is currently under a clean-up, and there is a good chance that it will be handed over to state prison authority rather than to a private group.
10. Julia Titwiler Prison:
Located in Alabama, the Julia Tutwiler prison. This is an all-female prison that can house up to 400 inmates. The prison is filled with acquisitions of frequent fights and female guards locking up inmates in solitary confinement based on their preferences. During the 1980s, prisoners were separated based on if they had AIDS or not. Testing positive for AIDS meant inmates were not given access to rehabilitation, work, education, and other mental health treatments.
While things have improved for a while, they are still not enough, and former inmates speak about the horrors they had to endure while serving their sentence in this prison.
11. Holman Correctional Facility:
Located in Atmore, Alabama, the prison is also known as a slaughterhouse since it only houses death row inmates and has the only execution chamber in Alabama. The conditions are defined as “unsafe” and “cruel,” particularly because of overpopulation. In 2016, the prison could only house 600 inmates. However, it was housing more than 1,000.
In 2020, it was told by the Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner that the prison would be dismissed and most residents would be transferred. While the prison still exists but it houses less number of inmates.
Worst Prisons in the United States by State:
We have made a huge list of the worst prisons in each of the states in the US. This list includes the 10 worst prisons in each State in the US:
1. Worst Prisons in The State of Ohio:
2. Worst Prisons in The State of Delaware:
Worst Prisons by State in the US:
- 9 Worst Prisons In The State of Delaware
- 9 Worst Prisons in The State of Arkansas
- 5 Worst Prisons In The State of Colorado
- 7 Worst Prisons In The State of North Carolina
- 7 Worst Prisons in The State of Pennsylvania
- 7 Worst Prisons in the State of Ohio
- 7 Worst Prisons in the State of New York
- Top 7 Worst Prisons in The State of California
- We will update this list as we publish more articles. So, if your state is missing, do save this article and check it after a week.