The need to imprison the criminals is also increasing as the crime rates are increasing daily. To punish the culprits is a tradition going on for ages. Today’s prisons focus more on the rehabilitation and self-development of prisoners rather than just punishing the prisoners.
Due to increasing crime rates and overcrowding of existing jails, governments are forced to build large prisons that can house a large number of prisoners at a time. As these facilities are advanced and are able to provide decent facilities. The list below is based on the number of inmates a prison can hold rather than the area of the prison.
List of the Top 10 Largest Prisons in the world:
10. San Quentin State Prison:
Capacity: 3082 Inmates
San Quentin State Prison located in California, US, constructed in 1852 is one of the earliest incarcerations in California. This prison has the largest death row for prisoners in the whole USA.
This incarceration is occupying 432 acres and currently holds 3,776 inmates. Its capacity is 3,082 inmates. This well-known prison has the highest security which makes it nearly impossible to escape.
This correctional facility was initially constructed with windowless cells to hold 250 inmates but this number exceeded soon. It was also housing female inmates till 1933. Now it is housing only men and has the biggest death row and is the only execution facility in the state.
The prison has various improvement programs for the inmates. It has housed many notorious prisoners and has witnessed many sentences. Being the oldest and the most known prison it has been featured in many films, podcasts, and web series.
This prison appeared in two of the Marvel movies Ant-Man and Venom.
9. Cook County Jail:
Convicts: 5,771 Inmates
The next biggest prison on our list is the Cook County Jail. The Cook County Jail is located in Chicago covering 93 acres of land. This correctional facility is operated by the Sheriff of Cook County.
This jail has 10 divisions to house inmates. It is the third largest jail in the US considering its population. The Cook County Jail is well known because it has housed many celebrity criminals.
This jail is also featured in various movies, documentaries, and series.
8. Bang Kwang Central Prison:
Capacity: 5,000 inmates
Bang Kwang Central Prison is one of the most secured and biggest prisons in Thailand. It was built by King Rama VII in 1931. This jail is spread over 79 acres of land and has the capacity to hold 5,000 inmates.
This is one of the major prisons in Thailand. It is currently housing more than 6,500 inmates. It has the primary death row section for execution purpose. This prison is famous for housing prisoners with long-term and death sentences.
As a result of holding many notorious prisoners, the administrations have faced four attempted prison escapes to date and two riots.
It is considered one of the harshest prisons in the world and was also featured in the Australian TV Show.
7. Louisiana State Penitentiary:
Capacity: 5,500 inmates
Louisiana State Penitentiary is America’s largest prison spread across 18,000 acres and has the capacity to hold 5,500 prisoners. It is a maximum security prison farm that is also known as Angola.
This correctional facility houses inmates for slave farming. It is a farm where housed inmates carry out farming and produce staple foods and cash crops. It also consists of a canning factory, a dairy, and a sugar mill operated by prisoners.
It is one of the worst prisons. It is famous for its violence and rigorousness. This prison can easily break the toughest criminals. When criminals are notified that they are sent to Angola it terrifies them.
This correctional facility has several facilities which are favored in the upbringing of the inmates.
6. Tihar Jail:
Tihar Prison famously known as Tihar Jail is not only the biggest prison in India but also the biggest prison in South Asia. It was opened in 1957 in Delhi and is operated by the Government of Delhi. There are 9 different jails inside and it is spread over 400 acres.
The capacity of this jail is 10,000 inmates but currently, it is residing more than 17,500 inmates. The growing population is leading to increased concern about the management and health of the prisoners.
Tihar Jail is also called Tihar Ashram as it is more of a correctional facility than just a prison. It acts as a rehabilitation center for many. It provides education and placement offers for inmates who are changed and completed their sentences. It has its own radio station and provides music therapy.
There is a factory inside the jail. Carpentry, weaving, bakery, etc activities are carried out from which the profit generated is used for victims and their families.
Tihar Jail has housed many infamous personalities including politicians like Sanjay Gandhi (former member of parliament), conman Subrata Roy, gangster Chota Rajan, and Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt.
It has also housed Suresh Kalmadi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Scam which is one of the biggest scams in India.
5. La Modelo Prison:
The next one of the largest prisons in the world was Columbia’s La Modelo Prison. It was housing more than 11,000 prisoners which is around 60-70% more overcrowded than its capacity.
The La Modelo Prison was opened in 1904 with a housing capacity of 2,500. The prison was closed in 2017 after 113 years and is now open for public viewing. The prisoners were moved to other correctional facilities.
La Modelo Prison is considered one of the worst prisons in the world. The stories of prisoners are worse and more painful to hear. It was known for its torture and violence.
According to the sources, the jail was corrupted to its roots. There was a constant fight between the left and right-wing sections of prisoners. The prisoners were found with guns and grenades whereas, on the other hand, the officers were not allowed to carry weapons inside the walls. Prisoners were also having easy access to cell phones.
In 2016, the remains of about 100 prisoners and visitors were found in the drain pipes of the jail.
4. Silivri Prison:
Capacity: 11,000 inmates
Silivri Prison is the largest prison in Turkey and Europe. It is the most modern correctional facility built to house 11,000 inmates. It was constructed in 2008 and it is one of the highest secured prisons.
The biggest correctional facility in Turkey is holding more than 20,000 inmates behind its walls. The modern prison has a waiting lounge for visitors, a mosque, a health care institution, a library, an indoor sports center, and two sports grounds. It also has a restaurant and a shopping mall.
Silivri prison offers education and various courses for the prisoners. As an advanced and secured prison, the percentage of violence is low in this prison.
3. Rikers Island:
Capacity: 15,000 inmates
Rikers Island is one of the biggest prisons in the whole world. It is spread across 413.17 acres and has the capacity to house 15,000 inmates. It consists of 10 separate jails. The population of the facility can go up to 20,000 per day including all the officials.
Initially, this island was only 90 acres in size but grew to 413 acres by 1943. And was also used as a military training ground during the Civil War.
As per the US terminology, it is not considered prison as this correctional facility holds pretrial suspects and short-term sentence prisoners. But it is equally known for its violence and mistreatment of the detainees.
On February 1, 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 823 scheduled from NYC’s LaGuardia Airport to Miami International Airport, Florida, crashed on Rikers Island killing 20 out of 95 passengers and 6 crew members. After the crash, department personnel and a few prisoners ran to help. As a result of their good deed, their sentences were reduced by six months.
Being one of the most known correctional facilities it is also featured in various movie scenes.
The New York City council has decided to close down this facility by 2026 if the population in the facility continues to drop.
2. Klong Prem Central Prison:
Capacity: 20,000 inmates
Klong Prem Central Prison is the largest prison in Thailand. It was opened in 1944 and has the capacity to hold 20,000 inmates. It also houses inmates of different nationalities.
This prison has both men and female inmates and has a separate execution facility for females.
The prison mainly houses drug dealers and inmates with short-term sentences. It is one of the worst places to be prisoned. Around 20% – 30% of this prison population are foreigners.
As a result of the different nationalities of inmates every year Prison World Cup is organized. 10 teams are created to represent Nigeria, Japan, the US, Italy, France, England, Germany, and Thailand. The winner gets a replica of the world cup trophy made of wood.
It has housed many notorious drug dealers and criminals and is one of the largest prisons in the world.
1. New Bilibid Prison:
Capacity: 6,435 inmates
New Bilibid Prison is the world’s most populated prison located in the Philippines. It was built in 1940 to hold 6,435 prisoners but currently, it is residing more than 29,000 prisoners.
Considering its population it has become a small correctional facility town. It is spread across 1,100 acres of land and has maximum security. This prison was used as a Prisoner of War camp during World War II.
The New Bilibid Prison has various facilities like a gymnasium, basketball court, religious denominations, and educational facilities.
It has housed many violent males and females in the Philippines.