The Three Most Dangerous Prisons in America

There are many factors that go into choosing the most dangerous prisons in the USA. The media spotlights isolated cases of prison violence, which makes that facility seem dangerous. The fact is there is danger in every prison, but some are more notorious for

San Quentin State Prison: San Rafael, California

There are more death row inmates in California’s San Quentin Prison, than any other US prison. The prison is also known for its widespread gang-related violence. Years ago, it was discovered that prison guards entertained themselves by allowing enemy inmates to fight and seeing who won. Though death row inmates are kept in isolated cells most of the time, there is a general population yard where non-death row inmates are allowed to spend time, which can create an atmosphere for violence. Much of San Quentin’s violence happens in the Reception Area.

Orleans Parish Prison: New Orleans, Louisiana

Orleans’ Parish Prison is known for both inmate on inmate violence and guard violence against inmates. In addition, guards have reportedly ignored inmate violence for years. During a one-month period in 2012, 23 inmates were severely injured during violent altercations and had to be transported to outside hospitals.

Rikers Island: Queens, New York

Video brawl: Rikers Island inmates

If you have ever watched the show Law and Order, you have heard of Rikers Island. The island actually houses 10 different jail facilities and is known as one of the most violent/dangerous penal systems in the US. With a long history of inmate murders by guards, prison-styled rapes by inmates on inmates and assaults that are frequent, it has earned a reputation of being a violent facility. There is a reputed “Entertainment Club” in which guards pit inmates against inmates and watch to see who wins.

Federal investigations have uncovered falsified reports by guards attempting to cover their tracks. A couple of guards are now convicts themselves for crimes they committed against inmates while working at the jail.

Gang violence is so common at Rikers Island that inmates have reported the belief that no one is safe.

Final thoughts: All prisons have a potential for violence. Some house more violent inmates than others, but every prison, given the right set of circumstances, can become a hotbed of assaults, gang-riots, etc.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.