Top 10 World’s Worst Prison Riots

Prison riots have increased the last few decades. Appalling conditions as well unfair treatment caused grievances amongst inmates. This article sets out to examine 10 case studies that are worth mentioning.


1. Carandiru Prison Riot:

The riot turned into a massacre on October 2, 1992. This was and still is considered a major human rights violation in the history of Brazil. The massacre was caused by a prisoner revolt within the prison. There were no negotiations done, before the prison got stormed by military state police. 111 people were killed in the massacre.


2. Canon City Prison Riots:

On October 3, 1929, one of the most bloody prison riots in U.S. History occurred. Prisoners took guards hostage in order to attempt an escape. Much of the prison was destroyed and resulted in the deaths of 8 guards; 9 others were wounded. 5 of the prisoner insurgencies were either killed or committed suicide, while John F. Hickman suffered injuries.


3. Apodaca Prison Riot:

On February 20, 2012, 44 inmates were killed and several others were injured and wounded. The riot took place inside the Apodaca prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico. All of those who have been confirmed as dead were from the D Dormitory. The cause of the riot was a power struggle between members of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetos Cartel. Both groups try to control drug sales inside the prison. Drug trafficking has already cost the lives of 47,000 people in Mexican when President Calderon launched a war against organized crimes in 2006.


4. New Mexico State Penitentiary Riot:

The riot took place on February 2nd and 3rd of 1980. The penitentiary was a state maximum security facility south of Sante Fe. This was one of the most violent prison acts in American history with 33 dead and 200 injured. Many officers were taken hostage; however, none were killed. The cause of the riots was atrocious prison conditions. It was also quite predicted, but not prevented.


5. Strangeways Prison Riot:

This 1990 prison riot in Manchester, England lasted for 25 days; making it the longest in British penal history. The riots commenced when prisoners took over the prison chapel. From there it spread throughout the whole prison. The riot left 2 men dead and 194 injured. Things changed within the British penal system. Conditions were bettered as well, including telephone lines and an end to slopping out.


6. San Pedro, Santa Monica and El Fronton Prisons:

The riots resulted in a repression which cost the lives of 224 people in Lima and Callao, Peru. President Alan Garcia changed the platform of his predecessor harshly. He intended to reduce human rights violations against civilian populations, by asking the civil society to propose a solution to the violence. He moreover took over prisons and made them a national concern. Prisoners in 3 prisons rose up and took prison guards and journalists hostage. Their demands included the release of 500 people imprisoned for terrorism. The government utilized force to take hold of the situation after failed negotiations.


7. Ashwell Prison Riot:

In 2009, violence spread in HMP Ashwell in Rutland. The riot began in one wing and lost control. Inmates barricaded themselves and were using homemade weapons to defend themselves. The cause of the riot was an inmate who had a run-in with the guards and refused to go to his room. 400 prisoners participated in the riot.


8. Attica Correctional Facility Riot:

The prisoners demanded better conditions inside the prisons of Attica, New York in 1971. After the death of George Jackson, a black activist prisoner, who was shot in the head by an officer, 1,000 Attica prisoners rebelled and seized control of the prison and its 33 staff members. 39 people were dead, including 10 correctional officers and employees.


9. Oklahoma State Prison Riot:

In 1973, the most devastating riot killed three lives, caused numerous and serious inquiries, scorched 24 buildings and expensive equipment, furniture and paralyzed all utilities. Additionally, a large part of the prison built by pre-generation prisoners was destroyed. The cost of it all was $20 million. The causes were: overcrowding, the refusal of governor to pardon drug dealers, and the underpayment of corrections officers.


10. Fremantle Prison Riot:

On January 4 and 5 of 1988 the prisoners at the Main Division of Fremantle Gaol rioted and assaulted prison officers. Six prison officers were taken hostage, while five others were imprisoned in the Main Division yard by inmates for nineteen hours. Another guard was released by inmates due to the extent of his injuries. Several fires were purposely lit in cells causing damage up to $1.5 million.


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