Top 10 Worst Prisons in The State of Georgia

What are some of the worst prisons in the state of Georgia? We have listed the top 10 worst prisons in Georgia based on the metrics such as crime rate and the living conditions for prisoners.

Top 10 Worst Prisons in The State of Georgia
Top 10 Worst Prisons in The State of Georgia / Picture by the author

Similar to other states, Georgia also has a vast network of prisons that are placed all over the state, and similar to the conditions of prisons in other states, Georgia also houses some of the worst prisons where people found guilty of crimes are sent to serve their sentence and where every day is a battle for survival.

The worst prisons in Georgia are due for several reasons since they lack basic human privileges, and crimes occur repeatedly, leading to dozens of deaths of incarcerated inmates.

In this article, we will be looking at the worst prisons in Georgia.

How many prisons are there in the state of Georgia?

Over 35 active state prisons in Georgia come under the authority of the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), which is civilian police.

Over the years, despite having a budget of $1.4 billion, the department has been accused of not doing enough to ensure the prisons are well maintained and disciplined in the way they should be.

7 Worst prisons in the State of Georgia:

Following are some of the worst prisons in the State of Georgia:

1. Georgia State Prison:

The worst prison in the state of Georgia is the Georgia State Prison which was founded in the year 1932 and had a capacity of over 1550 inmates. The prison is a maximum state prison and is famous for housing the most dangerous criminals in Georgia. While the prison held Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, it does not mean the prison facilities changed but have remained likewise as they were back then.

A prison is a terrible place for anyone to serve their time due to multiple reasons. For one, the prison is overcrowded.

Instead of holding 1550 inmates, which is its capacity, it houses over 1900 inmates in different cells. Due to this very reason, inmates do not have access to basic health facilities ranging from getting a daily shower, proper three days meals, access to the gym, and other educational facilities that every other prison offers.

Overcrowding is not the main issue but the least of the inmates' concerns because as the lights shut down, the inmates start attacking other inmates, and because of this, murders are rampant in this prison.

Apart from murders, former inmates have also reported they were abused sexually by other inmates, and while taking the report to the authorities, no one did anything about it.

Due to all these reasons, Georgia State Prison is one of the worst prisons in the state and is on no one’s list:

1. Ware State Prison:

Ware State Prison is located in Waycross Ware County, Georgia, and was opened in 1990. The prison is a closed security prison meaning it is the highest security class prison in the state of Georgia.

This is the prison where the inmates who have serious behavioral issues go and serve their sentence. Former inmates have reported very little about their sentence in this prison. Since the prison is a closed security one, very little about it is known to the outside world, and media visits are discouraged.

This is why many of the deaths inside this facility are termed “suicide”; in most of these cases, they are also called “foul play” by the family members.

Apart from this, there is also very little known about the facilities in this prison, but it is believed to be amongst the worst one can imagine.

2. Smith State Prison:

The third one on our list is the Smith State Prison, located in Tattnall County, Georgia. The prison was opened in 1993 with a capacity to hold over 1615 inmates in close security levels.

There is not much known about what happens in this prison, but sources say it is the worst place one can ever want to be in. The facility has been repeatedly called upon for its worst human rights abuses due to the inhuman treatment of inmates. This means if one gets admitted to the prison, they will face some of the worst hygienic places a prison can offer.

Apart from this, notorious gang violence is also on the rise. Killing in prison is a common occurrence that is often denied by the prison guards, terming those deaths as suicide or natural when the opposite is true.

3. Baldwin State Prison:

This is another close-security prison in the state of Georgia which holds both male and female inmates in different cells. Until 1990, when over 200 rape and physical assaults were reported by female inmates, authorities decided to make this prison an all-male prison apart from firing dozens of guards.

Since then, the reputation of this prison has not changed but has worsened because rampant cases of sexual and physical abuse are common, and there are also cases of gang violence and guards using excessive force on inmates.

One of the worst murder cases happened in 2019 when an inmate brutally killed another on the morning of Christmas.

4. Hays State Prison:

With a capacity of over 1683 inmates and the prison being opened in 1990, the prison has remained a terrible place for inmates to serve their sentence due to the most challenging guards that they can find anywhere else in the state prisons of Georgia.

In fact, in 2012, four inmates were found dead in their protective custody. Since the guards are extremely challenging, this has also made the inmates respond, and occurrences of guards getting injured by stabbing are very common.

In the same year, 2012, a visit by a team of the Justice Department found the locks in Hays facility to be faulty or ones that can be easily broken, and thus authorities were brought to question to ensure prison lives up to the standard as it should.

The problem does not end here; in 2015, a former prisoner sued three officials, claiming they failed to protect him when he was sexually abused.

Undeniably, Hays is one of the worst places in Georgia and should be avoided at any cost.

5. Johnson State Prison:

It is a medium security prison with a capacity to hold 1600 inmates. While the prison has remained somewhat calm and organized in the initial years but as time passed by, things only got worse. The blame cannot be put on one authority, but the issue is collective and needs urgent recognition before things get even worse.

What makes this prison so bad is the increase in the number of homicides. The number is extremely alarming and worrisome because in 2022, there were 29 homicides reported, and in 2021 there were 28 homicides reported making at least 57 in just two years.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is yet to reveal the real reasons behind these homicides, but many believe it is due to the violent gangs within the prison.

6. Telfair State Prison:

Another worst prison in Georgia is Telfair State Prison, located at Long Bridge Road, Helena, Georgia. The prison is close security but is understaffed, with over 15% fewer guards than there should be.

As a result, the prison is famous for some of the most violent crimes and security lapses. At one time in 2014, things got way out of hand as in just a few years, 26 inmates were killed. So far, things have improved somewhat, but it does not mean they are fully under the control of authorities in the manner they should be.

Read more about the worst prisons in other states of the US: