Top 10 Worst Prisons In Africa 2020

Prisons are correctional areas where criminals are taken with the goal of giving them the punishment they deserve.

However, African prisons are considered not only as of the worst prisons in Africa but also in the world due to the inhumane activities that are usually carried out there.

Some of the inhumane activities include malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of adequate health care, and many others. 

Top 10 Worst Prisons In Africa

  • 1. Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Zimbabwe 

Known as the largest correctional facility in Zimbabwe, Chikurubi Maximum Prison is the number one worst prison in Africa. 

The prison is known for housing over 17,000 prisoners in cells that measure 9 meters by 4 meters. Therefore, there are usually about 40-50 prisoners in every single cell. 

The prison occupies the first list because of overcrowding, massive brutality, malnutrition, lack of adequate healthcare, poor sanitary conditions, improper coordination, etc. 

Another brutality known to be carried out in the prison is that most of the prisoners are usually locked inside the cell without allowing them to go out for any recreational activities.

  • 2. Kinshasha, penitentiary, Congo

The second worst prison in Africa is the Kinshasha Penitentiary which is located in the Republic of Congo. The prison is known for providing small space for numerous numbers of prisoners. In fact, it is prisoners are known to not have a sleeping space in the prison. Most of them sleep close to septic tanks etc thereby exposing them to different types of diseases. 

On numerous occasions, the prison has been named as the worst prison in Africa. 

  • 3. Gitarama Prison, Rwanda 

When it comes to handling prisoners that committed genocide-related crimes in Rwanda, then Gitarama Prison is their home. However, the prison is also known for overcrowding prisoners leading to congestion and probably death. In fact, most of the prisoners never find sleeping space and end up standing all day long.

The prison is also known for recording a huge amount of deaths on a daily basis. Another disappointing fact is that most of the inmates engage in deadly fights and the dead ones are usually eaten since food is very scarce in the prison.

The prison is by far the dirtiest prison in Africa. Hence, prisoners are always exposed to diseases like gangrene leading to their death

  • 4. Kirikiri Maximum prison, Nigeria

The most popular prison in Nigeria is the fourth-worst prisons in Nigeria. Kirikiri is well known in Nigeria for the inhumane treatment of prisoners by guards and security forces. 

Just like many other worst prisons in the continent, Kirikiri is well known for the congestion. About 50-60 prisoners are usually inside a single cell and of course, this usually leads to death. 

Some of the conditions in the country include lack of adequate health care, a high death rate, maltreatment of prisoners, etc.

There has been the intervention of many NGOs but their efforts have not yielded anything positive

  • 5. The Mukobeko maximum prison, Zambia

The fifth worst prison in Africa is the Mukobeko Maximum Prison Located in Zambia. Initially, when the prison was created, it was meant to serve as a correctional center where a single prisoner will be in a single cell.

It has however been mismanaged and there are now about 15 prisoners in a single cell leading to limited ventilation in the cell. Due to this, there is usually the outbreak of many diseases including tuberculosis, nasal congestion, etc. 

In addition, the prison is well known for anti-human activities including rodent infestations, guard brutality, malnutrition, etc. 

  • 6. Nairobi Prison, Kenya

Established in 1911, the Nairobi Prison is the sixth-worst prison in Africa located in Kenya. When incepted, the prison was only designed to accommodate 800 in-house mates but due to the rampancy in crimes in the country, the number grew to about 3,000 in 2003. The number has since then been on the increasing side.

The convicts are known to always encounter one disease or the other because of the poor condition of the prison. There are a few numbers of toilets and hence there is a high level of air pollution in the prison since all the convicts share the limited toilets.

This, together with many other inhumane activities, makes the prison to occupy a spot in the list of worst prisons in Africa.

  • 7. Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kenya

Kamiti Maximum Prison is another worst prison in Africa. The prison is well known for the numerous inhumane activities that all the convicts are usually subjected to. 

The prison houses numerous numbers of political prisoners and hence, the convicts are usually exposed to situations like beating to deaths by other convicts, epidemic like cholera, tuberculosis, ulcer, etc. 

The prison is the biggest in Kenya and was created to initially accommodate only 1400 criminals. However, the number of criminals has now overshadowed the capacity of the prison. The prison is also known for recording a high number of deaths.

  • 8. Black Beach Prison, Equatorial Guinea

Located in Equatorial Guinea, the Black Beach Prison is the eight worst prisons in the continent and is well known for inhumane activities like guard brutality, malnutrition, overcrowding, rat infestations, lack of adequate healthcare, lack of food, and many more. 

In fact, it is very common in the prison for prisoners to die from chronic diseases like tuberculosis, tetanus, and many more. The prison is situated on Bioko Island and is in fact known as one of the most notorious prisons in the continent. 

  • 9. Pollsmoor Prison, South Africa

Located in South Africa, Pollsmoor Prison is by far the most notorious prison in South Africa. The prison is known for the increase in the convict’s death due to congestion.

The prison was initially designed for just 3900 criminals but the number of criminals has increased massively over the years to over 8900. 

The prison is actually run by terrorist gangs in the country hence; there is usually a high number of violent cases recorded. 

  • 10. Drakenstein Prison, South Africa

The second most notorious prison in South Africa is the tenth worst prison in Africa. Drakenstein Prison is well known for inhumane activities like malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of adequate healthcare, etc that are usually inflicted on convicts.

The prison was initially created to accommodate a small section of criminals but recently, it can’t accommodate the high number of criminals coming into the prison.



Prisons are ought to be correctional services where convicts are trained on how to become a better version of themselves. However, this is not the case in Africa as most of the prisons are not palatable for human lives at all.