Living in a developing world is almost unthinkable for those in the west. But living in incarceration in countries that are struggling to care for law-abiding citizens, is almost impossible. The things we take for granted are things these incarcerated prisoners have never truly experienced. During the construction of the most recent issue of Travel Antics, we featured an interview with Maya Delic, a woman who offers aid to incarcerated women in Serbia.
Writer Maria Milojković interviewed Maya, who paints the picture of a woman who against the advice of those in Serbia, decided to use her contacts to give these women another chance in life. But in pure Travel Antics style, we decided to take a look at those living incarceration in some of the most difficult countries in the world. Thanks to shows like ‘Orange is the New Black’ life in women’s prisons has become a fascination with the world. From the redhead imprisoned for organised crime to the transgendered prison mate, we’ve all learned that there’s more to the story of female inmates than you may originally believe. So, let’s have a look at some real life, hardcore women’s prisons.
Turkmenistan, Dashoguz Women’s Prison
This all women’s prison was built in 2012, to replace a previous prison on that site. According to The Independent, prisoners are handcuffed to the bed on both sides while the heavily pregnant woman is giving birth. A few days later the woman is forced back into labour, while the body is still recovering from childbirth.
Not to mention the cramped living conditions, 2,000 inmates are squeezed into the space available for half this amount. You can only imagine the types of fights that break out over small things we all take for granted like food and showers.
Greece’s Thiva Women’s Prison
Once upon a time, this sorry looking building was home to a detoxification centre. But now has the air of a squalid warehouse, where the guards communicate through megaphones strapped to the wall. Vaginal examinations are very rare and instead, prisoners are made to stand in solitary confinement and take laxatives to prove they’re not hiding any drugs in their body.
Johannesburg Women’s Prison
Around 40 people share one toilet, shower and sink, so to say the conditions were crammed would be a huge understatement. Inmates are locked in their cramped cells from 2 pm to 8 am the next morning and horrific fights can break out at any moment. One former-prisoner described a time when boiling water was thrown into a prisoners face and it took up to two hours for the guards to gain access to the injured party.
Chowchilla California. Valley State Prison
Most wouldn’t consider California as a place for a poorly run prison. Valley State Prison is well over capacity, over 2000 inmates should be housed in the prison. But, a reported 3,914 is living in the cells. Cynthia Chandler the director of the women’s campaign group Justice Now, told The Independent “People are dirty, their cells are dirty, they’re bleeding on themselves, they’re emotional and in a state of despair. It’s creating conditions inside a pressure cooker.”
So, the next time you feel stressed and life is getting you down, be thankful you’re not incarcerated in any of these prisons.