With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone busting out in Escape Plan, let’s see what breakout-thwarting jails the real world has to offer.
Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Massachusetts
The SBCC (as people on the inside call it – ha!) officially opened in 1998, and has yet to report a single breakout, so far earning its reputation of being the most technologically advanced and secure prison in the world. There are 600 correction officers guarding the 1500 prisoners, but just to be sure, the prison is also carefully monitored under the omnipotent eye of a robotic overlord. FotrtyTwo graphic-interfaced computer terminals drive a keyless system that controls everything in the facility from the doors and the water, to the PA system and the vehicle gates. Not only that, but it employs 370 HD cameras to record the premises 24 hours a day, plus a taut wire and microwave detection system to guard the perimeter. And if you think you can just pull the plug on those security systems, think again - the SBCC is one of the only prisons in the US to run almost entirely on solar and hydroelectric power. It was also built using the highest strength concrete and tool resistant steel available - just in case you were thinking of busting out the old-fashioned way.
Black Dolphin Prison, Russia
Unfortunately for its inmates, this prison wasn’t designed by Lisa Frank, and isn’t surrounded by rainbows and flying unicorns. Rather, it’s located on the boarder of Kazakhstan, and is home to some of Russia’s worst criminals, a terrifying collection of terrorists, cannibals, and murderers, all serving life sentences. Whenever prisoners are transported anywhere from their cell-within-a-cell, they’re blindfolded and forced to walk bent double, so they can’t see their surroundings and therefore cannot form a visual map of the prison – this makes planning an escape impossible. Also keeping things tricky for the would-be escapees are the 900 officers who keep an eye on the 700 prisoners 24 hours a day, and even prevent them from sitting or resting on their bunks during non-sleeping hours.
North Branch Correctional Institution – Maryland
NBCI is one of the newest prisons in the US, so it makes sense that it’s one of the most technologically advanced. However, NBCI isn’t just a regular prison loaded with fun prisoner-catching gadgets - its entire design is centered on preventing inmates from skedaddling. The prison was constructed using an “inverted fortress” style, which means that the master control tower sits in the middle of the complex instead of on the perimeter. This way, the control tower is surrounded by all housing units and the entire grounds, which allows for only two officers to maintain a system that controls all security doors, cameras, and water flow to individual cells. Every area accessed by inmates is under surveillance, and cell doors are made of ballistic-resistant glass, so the inmates don’t even get to poop in peace, nevermind plot an escape.
Portlaoise Prison – Ireland
Portlaoise Prison isn’t just notable for its ability to keep prisoners in, it’s also renowned for being able to keep other people out. The prison is home to many high-profile criminals, which has led to several attempts at infiltrating the prison walls by those seeking to bust them out. That’s why the prison keeps its number of inmates well below capacity, and well-armed guards patrol the property 24 hours a day. Because of so many outside attempts at blowing the prison doors open, these guards are armed with assault rifles and anti-aircraft machine guns, while the air above the prison is rendered a no-fly zone. And of course, what would a maximum security prison be without thousands of sensors, cameras, and good ol’ fashion high walls surrounding the perimeter?
ADX – Colorado
Located outside Florence Colorado, ADX is known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” In 1994, ADX was built in response to other US prisons’ inability to control their worst prisoners. As a result, ADX is entrusted with the absolute worst of the worst criminals - those deemed too dangerous or too great a risk to national security for even the other max prisons on this list. Much like the Black Dolphin Prison, once inside ADX, it is impossible to know which direction you are facing or where in the building you are. This is a product of design, however, not Russian blindfolds; all cell windows only face the sky, and inmates are allotted recreation in a windowless concrete pit, making it impossible for them to plan an escape or map out the facilities. If they do attempt an escape, the thousands of motion detectors, cameras, and pressure-sensitive, 12ft razor wire fences surrounding the perimeter will surely put a swift end to it.
Check out 10 Movies That Make Prison Look Awesome and President Schwarzenegger? If Arnold Gets His Way, It Just Might Happen.