I was scrolling through Netflix’s television shows the other night, looking for something to watch, when I came across Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons. The title certainly snagged my attention, so I decided to give one episode a watch. One episode turned into a few, and I’m still watching the show, hoping to eventually finish the series.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons was hosted by Paul Connolly, though it is now hosted by Raphael Rowe, an individual who served 12 years inside a London, U.K. prison for a murder he did not commit. In the show, Rowe travels to various prisons across the world, ones that are deemed as some of the toughest in terms of their conditions for its inmates, and typically spends one week inside to experience life as a prisoner would.
Prior to watching this series, I had a relatively firm understanding of the ways in which prisons operate. At least, I thought I did. To put it lightly, this show depicts prisons which entirely contradict my initial understanding of incarceration. The prisons featured in this show are not stereotypical examples of what most of us understand to be prisons, but rather, are locations with incredibly desolate conditions that house those who have broken the law. I had no idea prisons like the ones shown in the series are currently operating, let alone that there are so many operating under such harsh conditions. Many of the prisons portrayed in the show are overcrowded, violent, unjust and unsanitary, and that’s only a few adjectives off the top of my head that can be used to describe these places.
I highly recommend watching this show simply to understand the harsh realities of some of the prisons that exist in developing regions of the world. I’ve certainly shifted my understanding of what prison life can be like.