Prisons are brutal by design, but these five are the worst of the worst

Quick notes:

  • The United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate, with over 2 million currently locked up across the country

  • Maximum security prisons offer little time outside of cells and minimal contact with other human beings

  • Over 80,000 prisoners are being held in some form of isolation in both state and federal prisons

Author Conrad Black said, “All emphasis in American prisons is on punishment, retribution, and disparagement, and almost none is on rehabilitation.” While not all would agree with his statement, the United States of America does boast the world’s highest rate of incarceration.

As of 2016, there were nearly 2.2 million adults in the nation’s prisons and jails and census data indicates that over 80,000 of them are held in solitary confinement.

For the millions of people stuck behind bars, day-to-day life can be a struggle just to stay safe and get basic necessities. Doing time shouldn’t be a fight for survival but, sadly, it often is — and while every prison or jail can have its downsides, some are notoriously brutal. When it comes to American correctional facilities, these five are the worst of the worst: