Andreas Mihavecz is an Austrian who was taken into custody and forgotten in his cell for 18 days by policemen. He lost 24 kg (53 pounds) and holds the record of surviving the longest without any food or liquids.
Only one man survived the 1902 Mount Pelee eruption, which killed 30,000 people, because he’d been thrown in jail the day before and his cell was partially underground. It had thick stone walls, a bomb-proof magazine, and a small slit for breathing with no other windows.
Some jails offer upgraded cells, for roughly $75 to $127/day, the convicts get a small cell behind a regular door, distance from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer.
Louisiana State Penitentiary was founded as a slave plantation, and is still run as a prison farm to this day.
Guards at New Mexico State Penitentiary had a “snitch game”. They would label inmates as snitches, let them be abused, and wait for them to turn into informants to escape their tormentors.
Private-enterprise prisons have recognized that providing inmates with cable television can be a more economical method to keep them quiet and subdued than it would be to hire more guards.
The longest prison term ever sentenced was 2,200 years. He appealed, was re-convicted, re-sentenced, and given an additional 9,000 years.
Norway has a minimum security island-prison where inmates are almost free to do as they wish. The criminals interred there are among Norway’s worst, but it has the lowest rate of re-offending in Europe, if not the world.
There’s a town in Brazil that powers its streetlights by having convicts pedal bicycles attached to generators.