Inside the World's Toughest Prisons

The BEST episodes of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Paul Connolly goes behind the bars of some of the World's most notorious prisons (the first season ran on Channel 5 UK originally before Netflix has bought up the format).

Last Updated: 5/21/2022Network: Netflix
Norway: The Perfect Prison?
32 votes

#1 - Norway: The Perfect Prison?

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/14/2018

Many prisons aim to punish and demean inmates. Norway's Halden Prison -- as Raphael Rowe is about to see for himself -- does things differently.

Watch Now:Amazon
Paraguay: The Most  Dangerous Prison on Earth
40 votes

#2 - Paraguay: The Most Dangerous Prison on Earth

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 7/29/2020

Raphael Rowe spends a week behind bars at Tacumbu prison in Paraguay, where inmates scrounge in the trash in order to pay their own way.

Lesotho: Confronting Sexual Violence
31 votes

#3 - Lesotho: Confronting Sexual Violence

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired 7/29/2020

An unnerved Rowe contends with aggressive cellmates at Maseru prison, where a high number of inmates are behind bars for rape.

South Africa: The Number Gangs Prison
32 votes

#4 - South Africa: The Number Gangs Prison

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/8/2021

At Brandvlei Correctional Centre in South Africa, nearly all the convicts belong to dangerous gangs known for lethal stabbings.

Mauritius: The Extreme Punishment Prison
32 votes

#5 - Mauritius: The Extreme Punishment Prison

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired 7/29/2020

The tropical Island of Mauritius is home to Melrose maximum security prison, where even the smallest infraction is met with extreme punishment.

Greenland: Prison in the Ice
28 votes

#6 - Greenland: Prison in the Ice

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/8/2021

Greenland’s Nuuk maximum security prison houses extremely dangerous prisoners, many of whom grew up alongside the guards now watching over them.

Colombia: Narco Prison
29 votes

#7 - Colombia: Narco Prison

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 12/14/2018

While spending a week inside Bogotá's fortress-like prison, Raphael Rowe must negotiate the oppressive atmosphere and deal with an ominous threat.

Romania: Gypsy Prison
30 votes

#8 - Romania: Gypsy Prison

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/14/2018

Raphael Rowe spends a week at a maximum security prison in Craiova, Romania, where the inmates include rapists, murderers and contract killers.

Costa Rica: Prison on a Knife-Edge
28 votes

#9 - Costa Rica: Prison on a Knife-Edge

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 12/14/2018

Though he's no stranger to life behind bars, Raphael Rowe concedes that Costa Rica's La Reforma Prison is certainly among the most intimidating.

Germany: The Therapy  Prison
32 votes

#10 - Germany: The Therapy Prison

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/29/2020

Schwalmstadt, a 12th-century fortress surrounded by a moat, houses some of Germany's worst offenders, many of whom attend intense therapy sessions.

Philippines: The War on Drugs Prison
26 votes

#11 - Philippines: The War on Drugs Prison

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 1/8/2021

Once again, Raphael Rowe volunteers to go behind bars, this time in the Philippines at Manila City Jail, one of the world’s most overcrowded prisons.

Papua New Guinea: The Breakout Prison
32 votes

#12 - Papua New Guinea: The Breakout Prison

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 7/6/2018

Raphael Rowe visits the short-staffed Bomana Prison in Papua New Guinea, where near-constant food shortages keep the facility on the brink of chaos.

51 votes

#13 - Philippines

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/18/2016

Paul spends time in the Rizal City Jail, known for being both overcrowded and housing impoverished prisoners. Here he shares a cell with a murderer and a rapist. He also explores how the Bahala Na gang rules a prison in the country.

Watch Now:Amazon
45 votes

#14 - Mexico

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 2/25/2016

In a television first, crime journalist Paul Connolly is granted access to El Hongo maximum security prison, one of Mexico's toughest jails from where no-one has ever escaped. Isolated in the barren Baja desert of northern Mexico, El Hongo is a concrete fortress of discipline and punishment designed to contain and control over a thousand inmates including hardened cartel gangsters.

Watch Now:Amazon
57 votes

#15 - Poland

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 2/11/2016

Paul serves time in the purpose-built prison in Poland, that was built to hold the worst criminals of the worst. Here he meets a notorious gangland killer and learns how a zero tolerance regime wiped out a prison gang.

Watch Now:Amazon
Brazil: The Gang Prison
50 votes

#16 - Brazil: The Gang Prison

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 7/6/2018

Investigative journalist Raphael Rowe spends a few days -- both as a guard and a prisoner -- inside Brazil's gang-filled Porto Velho Penitentiary.

Ukraine: The Prison in a War Zone
39 votes

#17 - Ukraine: The Prison in a War Zone

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/6/2018

Ukraine's Zhytomyr Prison is operated with a skeleton crew that allows prisoners to freely roam the grounds -- often with potentially dangerous weapons.

Belize: The Prison That Found God
31 votes

#18 - Belize: The Prison That Found God

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 7/6/2018

In Belize Central Prison, the inmates are told that rehabilitation comes through God. Raphael Rowe investigates if this evangelical approach works.

69 votes

#19 - Honduras

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/4/2016

Paul Connolly heads to Honduras, the murder capital of the world, to spend a week living as a prisoner inside one of the most dangerous prisons - Danli Prison.