The BEST episodes of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons

Every episode of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Inside the World's Toughest Prisons!

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: 6/28/2024Network: NetflixStatus: Continuing
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Norway: The Perfect Prison?
star
7.86
42 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.

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Solomon Islands
star
7.65
31 votes

#2 - Solomon Islands

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired 9/15/2023

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Paraguay: The Most  Dangerous Prison on Earth
star
7.63
46 votes

#3 - 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.

Moldova: The Lifers Prison
star
7.57
35 votes

#4 - Moldova: The Lifers Prison

Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/28/2022

Traveling to Moldova, Raphael Rowe locks himself within Penitentiary 17, a maximum-security prison housing more than a hundred life-sentence inmates.

Lesotho: Confronting Sexual Violence
star
7.56
39 votes

#5 - 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.

Finland
star
7.56
39 votes

#6 - Finland

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/15/2023

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Czech Republic
star
7.51
35 votes

#7 - Czech Republic

Season 7 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/15/2023

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Indonesia
star
7.50
32 votes

#8 - Indonesia

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired 9/15/2023

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South Africa: The Number Gangs Prison
star
7.45
42 votes

#9 - 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.

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Greenland: Prison in the Ice
star
7.44
36 votes

#10 - 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.

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Bosnia: The Mafia Prison
star
7.41
32 votes

#11 - Bosnia: The Mafia Prison

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired 9/28/2022

At Zenica prison in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Raphael Rowe finds himself trapped with inmates ranging from organized crime bosses to ruthless killers

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Colombia: Narco Prison
star
7.39
38 votes

#12 - 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.

Mauritius: The Extreme Punishment Prison
star
7.38
39 votes

#13 - 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.

Costa Rica: Prison on a Knife-Edge
star
7.34
35 votes

#14 - 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.

Romania: Gypsy Prison
star
7.31
39 votes

#15 - 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.

Philippines: The War on Drugs Prison
star
7.25
36 votes

#16 - 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.

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Papua New Guinea: The Breakout Prison
star
7.22
40 votes

#17 - 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.

Greece: The People Smugglers Prison
star
7.21
29 votes

#18 - Greece: The People Smugglers Prison

Season 6 - Episode 4 - Aired 9/28/2022

Raphael Rowe investigates one of Greece’s most overcrowded maximum-security prisons, overflowing with some of the country’s most dangerous offenders.

Poland
star
7.12
66 votes

#19 - 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.

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Brazil: The Gang Prison
star
7.12
59 votes

#20 - 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.

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Ukraine: The Prison in a War Zone
star
7.09
46 votes

#21 - 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.

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Germany: The Therapy  Prison
star
7.05
38 votes

#22 - 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.

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Mexico
star
7.04
55 votes

#23 - 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.

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Philippines
star
7.03
59 votes

#24 - 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.

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Cyprus: The Utopian Prison
star
6.97
32 votes

#25 - Cyprus: The Utopian Prison

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/28/2022

The Central Jail of Nicosia in Cyprus has undergone radical transformation over the years. But are these changes for the better?