6.Rikers Island, New York, NY
The third largest prison facility in the United States, Rikers Island accommodates local offenders with short sentences (one year or less), those expecting and awaiting trial, and those anticipating transfer (including famous names like David Berkowitz, Mark David Chapman, Sid Vicious, and Lil Wayne).
You might not believe that a facility with such comparatively low-grade offenders would be one of the worst prisons on Earth, but you’d be wrong.
Rikers Island has a notorious record of well-organised and systematic violation. Perhaps even more so than the dominant and rampant gang violence, inmates often live in abject terror of abusive correctional officers, and rightly so: In 2009, The New York Times reported that there had been at least seven lawsuits filed against the Department of Corrections for guard-sanctioned inmate vs. inmate violence.
In one such case, a guard allegedly ordered six prisoners to brutally beat two inmates, one of whom was hospitalized with a collapsed lung.
The New York Times also reported that during an 11-month period in 2013, about 129 inmates had sustained serious injuries at the hands of guards. These were no scrapes: The injuries included bone fractures, deep wounds that required stitching, and severe head injuries. Adding unpleasantness is the fact that 77 per cent of those who suffered serious injury in guard altercations had already been diagnosed with a mental illness.