Top 3 Bloody Prison Riots

Prison riots are a true nightmare for people who work there and a real chance for freedom for the prisoners. Prison guards have exquisitely hard job to maintain and keep the order in the rows, making sure every prisoner behaves. Sometimes the peace and order in the prisons are so fragile and is just a matter of time when a riot will happen. The situation is even scarier when the violent criminals are already serving life sentences and have nothing to lose by inflicting violence and taking lives.

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#1. The Battle of Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island Federal Penitentiary was considered inescapable because it is located in the San Francisco. It was also considered to be an impractical place to stage a riot in. However, on May 2, 1946, bank robber Bernard Coy was working as an orderly in C Block when he suddenly attacked the guard responsible for overseeing the prison’s weapons. After taking the man’s key and unlocking the other prisoners from their cells, Coy and five accomplices grabbed weapons and managed to disarm all the guards in the building. Coy’s plan was to take hostages and hijack the prison’s motorboat to escape. Fortunately for the guards, in the attempt to unlock the door to the yard, the prisoners accidentally jammed the lock and trapped themselves inside. The alarm went on and the entire section was surrounded by guards and police. Cretzer figured the best strategy would be to kill all the hostages, so that they couldn’t testify about who started the riot. He erratically fired shots at the guards, killing one of them and wounding five more. The inmates still refused to surrender and stood off against the authorities outside. Finally, two days after the siege began, all three convicts were shot to death, and the “Battle of Alcatraz” was over. Carnes received a life sentence for his role in the riot, while Shockley and Thompson were executed.

The Battle of Alcatraz

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#2. The Carandiru Massacre

The riot started in 1992 at Carandiru Penitentiary in Sao Paulo, Brazil which caused one of the most violent and bloody riot responses. At the time, Carandiru was the largest prison in Latin America, and it was horribly overcrowded. Even though the prison was built to host 3,500 inmates, its population was over 7,300. Violence was ready to explode at any moment, so the facility was nicknamed “the Powder Keg.” On the afternoon of October 2, a dispute between rival drug-trafficking gangs at Carandiru escalated into a full-scale riot. The inmates took control of the facility, and authorities made no attempt to negotiate with them. Three hours after the riot started, over 300 military policemen opened fire and killed 111 prisoners. Thirty five prisoners were terribly injured. Even though 22 officers were wounded during the riot, none of them were killed, which strongly suggests they used unjustifiable violence. In fact, eyewitnesses claimed that many of the prisoners who were shot had been hiding in their cells or trying to surrender. Since these victims presented no threat to the police, the Carandiru Massacre was seen as a major human rights violation.

The Carandiru Massacre

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#3. The Battle of Qala-i-Jangi

It was November 2001, and the events of September 11 were still fresh in everyone’s minds. The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan captured 1,000 members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. They took the prisoners to the Qala-i-Jangi camp as enemy combatants but neglected to thoroughly search all of them before bringing them into the facility. That was a terrible mistake because some prisoners managed smuggle grenades in the prison. They used them to stage a suicide attack, and two Northern Alliance guards died; but the worst was yet to come. On November 25, two American CIA officers arrived at Qala-i-Jangi to interrogate the prisoners. During one of the interrogations, a Taliban prisoner grabbed an AK-47 from a guard and killed an officer. During the chaos some prisoners overpowered the guards and took over the facility. American and British Special Forces showed up to assist Northern Alliance fighters and spent the week engaging in all-out war with the prisoners. Within the next two days, the combined military forces had killed many of the prisoners and recaptured a large portion of the facility. However, over 100 prisoners retreated to a basement and remained there for the next four days, continuing to resist. Northern Alliance soldiers tried to set a fire in the basement after they pumped oil inside. But it didn’t succeed, so they decided to fill the basement with irrigation water. The remaining prisoners finally surrendered and in the end of the riot there were only 86 survived prisoners.

The Battle of Qala-i-Jangi

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