Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons Season 7 Review – A hard-hitting look at prison life

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7



Episode Guide

Czech Republic 
Solomon Islands



Raphael Rowe returns to investigate conditions in four more of the toughest prisons in the world. No stranger to incarceration after spending 12 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, Rowe is the perfect observer of everything prison-related. His voice-over possesses his usual hard-hitting tone as he tries to get to the bottom of why prison life is so vastly different with every location he visits. 

In episode 1, he visits Finland’s Kylmäkoski Prison, where he spends a week locked up with some of the country’s most violent prisoners. To his surprise, he discovers that its the prisoners who run the place and not the screws. This prison is billed as a free-choice location, and by this, it means inmates are allowed to leave for a job and other activities. It’s an interesting and progressive idea that would probably never work in the United Kingdom or the States.

The first episode perfectly contrasts with some of the other prisons covered in the series. Episode 2 sees Rowe visit a prison in the Czech Republic known as the crystal meth prison. A large percentage of the population in this prison is addicted to the infamous drug, and its a wonder how they even get hold of it.

Episodes 3 and 4 feature visits to prisons in Indonesia and the Solomon Islands respectively, with the latter showing an establishment absolutely bereft of resources, and prisoners facing some extremely grim conditions.

It’s hard to feel much sympathy for them when you find out what crimes they have been convicted of. But herein lies the biggest question of all: If the prison conditions are this bad, what is the state of the justice system in these particular countries? And are all of these so called ‘criminals’ actually even guilty of the crimes they’ve been sent down for? Raphael Rowe offers the perfect insight into how flawed the system is, having negatively experienced it in the UK. 

Despite being in its 7th season, this run of episodes is up there with the very best of the lot on Netflix. Rowe still provides his signature summing up of the prisons he inhabits at the end of each episode. You get the impression that, by the end of the series, he has really been put through the wringer with some of the things he has witnessed. 

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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