The BEST Episodes of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2021
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).
#1 - Paraguay: The Most Dangerous Prison on Earth
Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 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.
#2 - Norway: The Perfect Prison?
Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Dec 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.
#3 - Lesotho: Confronting Sexual Violence
Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Jul 29, 2020
An unnerved Rowe contends with aggressive cellmates at Maseru prison, where a high number of inmates are behind bars for rape.
#4 - Mauritius: The Extreme Punishment Prison
Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 29, 2020
The tropical Island of Mauritius is home to Melrose maximum security prison, where even the smallest infraction is met with extreme punishment.
#5 - Romania: Gypsy Prison
Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Dec 14, 2018
Raphael Rowe spends a week at a maximum security prison in Craiova, Romania, where the inmates include rapists, murderers and contract killers.
#6 - Colombia: Narco Prison
Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Dec 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.
#7 - Costa Rica: Prison on a Knife-Edge
Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Dec 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.
#8 - Brazil: The Gang Prison
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 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.
#9 - South Africa: The Number Gangs Prison
Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 8, 2021
At Brandvlei Correctional Centre in South Africa, nearly all the convicts belong to dangerous gangs known for lethal stabbings.
#10 - Papua New Guinea: The Breakout Prison
Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 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.
#11 - Ukraine: The Prison in a War Zone
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 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.
#12 - Philippines
Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 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.
#13 - Mexico
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 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.
#14 - Germany: The Therapy Prison
Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 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.
#15 - Poland
Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Feb 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.
#16 - Greenland: Prison in the Ice
Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 8, 2021
Greenland’s Nuuk maximum security prison houses extremely dangerous prisoners, many of whom grew up alongside the guards now watching over them.
#17 - Belize: The Prison That Found God
Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Jul 6, 2018
In Belize Central Prison, the inmates are told that rehabilitation comes through God. Raphael Rowe investigates if this evangelical approach works.
#18 - Honduras
Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 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.
#19 - Philippines: The War on Drugs Prison
Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 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.