Prisons Around the World

image of earth with prison bars

CriminalJusticeLaw.org is a website with a global perspective. Our purpose is to be THE website for students of criminal justice and law anywhere in the world. For this reason, we are compiling lists of prisons around the world and hope before long to provide more detailed information related to these prisons and correctional centers.

Each nation has its own criminal justice system and system of law. Regardless, each also has some form of penal institution. Thus, regardless of economic or ruling structure, the penal systems of the world comprise at least one commonality. Could prisons be somehow used as a basis for better understanding and cooperation between nations at odds with each other?


Did You Know?

Prisons or Penitentiaries as they are known today had their start in the religious concepts of members of the Quaker faith. They believed that people who committed crimes should be placed in an isolated location and provided with food, water, and a Bible. The intent was to move them to penitence, to repentance, with the hope that once they have served their time, they could return to productive society as good, Christian men and women.


Certainly, when seeking to compromise on larger issues, people often look to areas where they hold something in common. Remarkably, the notion of locking at least some criminals away from society is one of the most common elements uniting the world.

Following is a list of nations. As we add pages listing the prisons in each nation, the listed name will become a link. For now, consider this a placemat.

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda

    English: Lörrach: prison Deutsch: Lörrach: Jus...
    English: Lörrach: prison Deutsch: Lörrach: Justizvollzugsanstalt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • The Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cabo Verde
  • The Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Cyprus
  • Chechnya
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • East Timor (see Timor-Leste)
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea

    Mountjoy Prison, the main committal prison in ...
    Mountjoy Prison, the main committal prison in the Republic of Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Gambia, The
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Holy See (The Vatican or Vatican City)

Did You Know?

Although the Vatican does not have a prison per se, it does have a jail. As a country with one of the highest per-capita crime rates, it has to have both a police force and a jail, but no prison. Of course, most of the crime is petty and committed by tourists including purse snatching, theft, pick-pocketing, and various forms of graft. When a major crime is committed, the Vatican has an agreement with Italian authorities, who house the criminal in one of their prisons…at the expense of the Vatican, of course.


  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Korea, North
  • Korea, South
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands

    One of the ten accommodation blocks, used for ...
    One of the ten accommodation blocks, used for housing the inmates in the JB Prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Norway

Did You Know?

Norway is home to the most luxurious prison in the world? And by luxurious, we are not being facetious. Bastoy Prison is located on an island in the center of the Oslofjord. It houses roughly 100 minimum security inmates who may sunbathe, go fishing, horseback riding, or play tennis when they are not working the farm. Each evening, they retire to a small cottage. Sounds positively idyllic.


  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe

    English: Entrance of the jail of Toliara (Mada...
    English: Entrance of the jail of Toliara (Madagascar) Français : L’entrée de la prison de Tuléar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Sint Maarten
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The United States

Did You Know?

Despite being considered a bastion of liberty and justice, Attica Correctional Facility in New York state consistently ranks among the worst prisons in the world year after year. The prison makes the list, not because of conditions which have radically improved since the 1972 riots that made world headlines. Attica is considered one of the worst prisons in the world because of the harsh environment created by the inmates, who are among the most hardened criminals anywhere.


  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe