Worst prisons in history?

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Lucky13, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Devil's Island (French: île du Diable), got to be in the top 10!
     
  2. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The penal colonies?
    Getting there was hell on earth plus all the delights of Port Arthur et al
     
  3. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Quite a question Jan. Man's inhumanity to man is given free rain in prisoner camps. Any of the German consentration camps or Soviet Gulags come to mind. In Vietnam individual POWs were often kept in "Tiger Cages" too small to either stand, sit or lay down in. Villagers were encouraged to throw human waste, animal waste, gargage, etc. on the prisoners and captives were often were beaten on a daily basis. Any type of medical care was non-existant. Food and water were also seldom supplied.
    The British were no better. During the Revolutionary War, British forces occupying New York City used abandoned or decommissioned warships anchored just offshore to hold those soldiers, sailors and private citizens they had captured in battle or arrested on land or at sea (many for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown). A total of at least 16 prison hulks, including the infamous HMS Jersey (which earned the nickname "Hell" for its inhumane conditions and the obscenely high death rate of its prisoners), were placed by British authorities in the waters of Wallabout Bay off the shores of Brooklyn, New York. The British considered these men to be traitors to the Crown and as such were not prisoners of war. As traitors they were harassed and continually abused by their guards. Over 11,500 prisoners died aboard these prison ships over the course of the war, most from disease or malnutrition. Their corpses were often tossed overboard, though sometimes they were buried in shallow graves along the eroding shoreline. The HMS Jersey death rate alone was at least 8 per day.
    Robert Sheffield, an escaped prisoner wrote in 1778: "The heat was so intense that (the hot sun shining all day on deck) they were all naked, which also served the well to get rid of vermin, but the sick were eaten up alive. Their sickly countenances, and ghastly looks were truly horrible; some swearing and blaspheming; others crying, praying, and wringing their hands; and stalking about like ghosts; others delirious, raving and storming,--all panting for breath; some dead, and corrupting. The air was so foul that at times a lamp could not be kept burning, by reason of which the bodies were not missed until they had been dead ten days."
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Jan, actually you are referring to a group of three islands about 7 miles off the coast of French Guiana. The islands were part of a penal colony from 1852 onwards for common law criminals of France, those convicted by juries rather than magistrates. Île Royale was for the general population of the penal colony, housed in moderate freedom due to the difficulty of escape from the island. Île Saint-Joseph was where inmates were sent to be punished by solitary confinement in silence and darkness for escapes or offences committed in the penal colony. Île du Diable was for political prisoners. This penal colony was controversial for it had a reputation for harshness and brutality but it was more the harshness of the environment and the brutality of the most hardened of thieves and murderers in France all thrown together. Prisoner-on-prisoner violence was common, tropical diseases were endemic and medical care non-existent. Only a small minority of broken survivors would ever return to France to tell or conditions.
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    In modern history, undoubtedly the Black hole of Calcutts. Into a space measuring 18 feet by 14 feet,, were crammed 146 prisoners, 23 survived the one night of incarceration. The legends of the suffering of these people has coloured history since that day. The perpetrators were Indian mutineers, who disingenuously claimed the prisoners were being held in such a confined space for their own welfare.

    In australia, debate about the "worst" penal colonies is divided, but in my opinion Saran Island in Tasmania is probably most deserving. There wasnt room on the colony for inmates to sleep lying down, From an estimated population of about 50 inmates, 9500 lashes were given out in less than six months, all waking hours were done in irons. all floggings were instructed to use salt and the death rate was in excess of 70%. it was a death camp by any definition.
     
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  6. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Angola State Prison in Louisiana - a "modern" prison that might have qualified as late as the '80s, especially among "civilized" nations.
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Andersonville during the American Civil War has always been considered atrocious. And I believe the jails in Turkey and many of the South American countries are brutal.
     
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  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Marriage?
     
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  9. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Wow - someone actually went there....
     
  10. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Nice call on Andersonville. From what I know it was hell on earth.
     
  11. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Australia?
     
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  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Roman prisons during the collosseum games.
     
  13. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Fremantle Prison. A prison within a penal colony, and only closed in 1991.

    But, they did have an over 95% rehabilitation rate, so maybe it was one of the best?
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Camp Sumter as it was known officially, held more prisoners at any given time than any of the other Confederate military prisons. It was built in early 1864 after Confederate officials decided to move the large number of Federal prisoners in and around Richmond to a place of greater security and more abundant food.
    The first prisoners were brought to Andersonville in late February 1864. During the next few months, approximately 400 more arrived each day. By the end of June, 26,000 men were penned in an area originally meant for only 10,000 prisoners. The largest number held at any one time was more than 33,000 in August 1864. Of these almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements.
    Far from being a plot the Confederate government simply could not provide adequate housing, food, clothing or medical care to their Federal captives because of deteriorating economic conditions in the South. In fact, the South, could not even provide these things for its own soldiers.
    When the War ended, Captain Henry Wirz, the prison’s commandant, was arrested and charged with conspiring with high Confederate officials to “impair and injure the health and destroy the lives…of Federal prisoners” and “murder in violation of the laws of war.” Such a conspiracy never existed, but public anger and indignation throughout the North over the conditions at Andersonville demanded appeasement. Tried and found guilty by a military tribunal, Wirz was hanged in Washington, D.C., on November 10, 1865. Wirz was the only person executed for war crimes during the Civil War.
     
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  15. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Not ever been there.:lol:
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    As kiwi, that was almost a mandatory statement.....
     
  17. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Not even to work?? :lol:
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the Romans didn't have large prisons and the Colliseum was the end result of a death sentance (for non-Gladiator events). And they had many arenas throughout the empire.

    If you ran afoul of the law in Rome for a serious offense (or lesser crimes with a political bent), you were more likely to go to the Copper mines, the Salt mines, the work detail camps (Aquaducts, port constructions, quarries) or ended up as an oarsman aboard a Galley (State owned merchantman or warship).

    If you became indebted, you would most likely end up indentured until the debt was worked off (if ever)...
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Ah, so that's where Cameron got his policies from !
     
  20. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Didn't even know that he had any.... :lol:
     
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