Nearly two centuries ago, New York City's Chinatown was home to a true story of struggle: migrant workers and their families lived in contiguous, poor, low-ceilinged housing.
Vietnamese workers include Denis Chong, owner of Buster Grill & Noodles, which he has run for nearly 27 years and has survived disasters such as the Sept. 11, 2001, bombings, Hurricane Sands and the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, another symbol of the American case is taking shape: just across from Chong's restaurant, construction has begun on a massive new prison that will be the largest in the world, measuring 33 feet high, the world's tallest correctional institution, the Guardian recently reported.
That would succeed Rikers Island Jail, one of the world's most notorious prisons, which the New York City Council voted to close in 2019. Planners say the new prison will be a "more humane institution", located steps away from downtown courts.
Rikers Island Prison Complex (foreground) in New York City's Queens (Reuters)
Rikers Island is one of the most infertile penal facilities in the United States, and it is enough to know that 85% of the prison inmates have not yet been convicted and are awaiting trial, and the average detention of detainees in the facility is 4 months (which is 4 times the national average in America), and a large number of its inmates ended up dead. Investigators found that the prison consisted of dilapidated buildings and unsanitary conditions and that its guards systematically mistreated inmates.
But Rikers is not the worst and most dangerous prison in the world; According to specialized websites such as the Criminal Justice Degree Center, Howe Staffwork, and PS Scolari:
1- Gitarama prison in Rwanda
It is the world's busiest prison, home to more than 7,600 inmates in a facility built to accommodate only 1994 inmates. Most of the prisoners are suspected of genocide in Rwanda in <>.
Due to overcrowding, male and female prisoners are forced to stand barefoot on the dirty floor all hours of the day, causing their feet to rot and gangrene.
Many eventually need amputations, but with only one full-time doctor dedicated to the prison, most prisoners are unable to receive treatment, and rotting limb amputation becomes an elusive luxury, resulting in the death of 6 people every day inside the prison.
Gitarama prison in Rwanda, the world's busiest prison with more than 7,600 inmates in a facility for only <> inmates (Shutterstock)
2- EDX prison in America
Also known by names like "EDX Florence," "Super Max," and "Alcatraz Rocky Mountains," it is the highest-security prison in the United States. Built in 1994 in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA.
It includes some of the world's best-known defendants, including Ted Kaczynski (bomber), Ramzi Youssef (accused of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993), Zacharias Mousavi (accused of the September 11 bombings), Michael Swango (the doctor accused of poisoning and killing 60 of his patients) and others.
Inmates spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in small concrete cells measuring 7×12 feet (2×3.6 meters) with extremely small windows, according to the New York Times.
Prisoners receive their meals through small openings in the metal doors of cells. When they are allowed out of their cells during the one-hour entertainment period a day, they wear restraints and are escorted by guards to a small open-air cage.
As bad as this prison is, former jailer Robert described it as "a miniature version of hell."
EDX is the highest-security prison in the United States (AP)
3- Mendoza prison in Argentina
Mendoza prison in Argentina is severely overcrowded, with a population almost 3 times its capacity. Up to five inmates are crammed into cells measuring just 5 square feet (43 square meters), and a number of prisoners are forced to sleep on the floor without mattresses.
Amnesty International published a report on the dire conditions of prisoners in 2005, warning that "people imprisoned in Mendoza are in such a desperate situation that they have gone so far as to sew their mouths to demand better living conditions."
Conditions at the time were extremely deplorable, ranging from torture to death. Prisoners did not have adequate medical care, and the prison lacked an adequate sanitation system, forcing inmates to use plastic bags and bottles to relieve themselves.
A watchtower in Russia's Black Dolphin prison for the most dangerous criminals (National Geographic)
4- Black Dolphin prison in Russia
Black Dolphin prison (known as Penal Colony No. 6) is located near Russia's border with Kazakhstan. It is intended for the most dangerous and violent criminals in the country, including serial killers, cannibals, child rapists, and terrorists.
It bears the name "Dolphin Statue" created by inmates and sits on the grass in front of the prison reception. Prisoners are monitored 24 hours a day via videoconference, and guards make rounds every 15 minutes. Two inmates are placed in each 50-square-foot (4.6-square-meter) cell behind three steel doors to keep it well isolated from guards and other prisoners.
Prisoners are allowed out of their cells 90 minutes a day, into a barren concrete exercise yard, and when transported anywhere within the facility, they are tied up, blindfolded and forced to walk bent over so they cannot figure out the prison design, interact with other prisoners or overcome guards.