San Quentin State Prison | The Worst Prisons in the World

San Quentin State Prison

Located in California, San Quentin is a reservoir of prison stories and legends. The prison opened in 1852. It has the State’s only death row, a gas chamber now only used for lethal injections and has housed some of the most notorious criminals in the country’s history. It was built to house 3,082 inmates but currently holds 4,223, making overpopulation, one of the main problems and prompting prison violence. In 1982, a riot erupted that required 24 shotgun blasts to subjugate the uprising that resulted in the serious injuries of 22 convicts and 4 prison guards. In February 2006, 100 inmates were injured and two were killed in racially motivated attacks that resulted in a lockdown for 1,800 prisoners. Health care at the prison does not fare any better. A 2005 report found that doctors constantly misdiagnose illnesses and operate in filthy conditions. The report stated: "We found a facility so old, antiquated, dirty, poorly staffed, poorly maintained, with inadequate medical space and equipment and overcrowded. It is our opinion that it is dangerous to house people there.”

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