Life behind bars: Netflix to feature Czech jail in series on world's toughest prisons

Seen by many as the country's most dangerous, a Pilsen-based jail that dates back to 1870 has a recurrent methamphetamine problem. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.09.2023 16:41:00 (updated on 12.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Bory prison, one of the largest incarceration facilities in the Czech Republic, has been selected as the backdrop for a forthcoming Netflix series that delves into the world's toughest prisons, iDnes reports.

The premiere episode, centered on the Pilsen-based jail, is set to air this Friday (Sept. 15), marking the inauguration of the new series. A unique aspect of the feature is the inclusion of drone footage from within the prison walls.

Drugs outside and inside jail

The documentary will also substantially focus on methamphetamine use. Czechia’s status as the largest producer of the drug is reflected in inmates’ use, with many frequently taking the drugs behind bars. Almost one-third of Czech convicts used meth before being sent to prison, according to the documentary makers.

The Czech Republic is recognized as a major producer of methamphetamine, a reputation that extends even within the confines of the Bory prison. Shockingly, reports suggest that some inmates continue to engage in drug-related activities behind bars, undermining the prison's intended purpose of rehabilitation. To counteract this issue, dedicated officers, along with specially trained drug detection dogs, maintain a constant vigilance to prevent drug smuggling and abuse among inmates.

The upcoming Netflix episode featuring the Bory prison promises a compelling exploration of the challenges faced by both staff and inmates. The episode will be hosted by journalist Raphael Rowe, who has previously guided audiences through prisons worldwide in various documentary series.

A long history

The Bory prison currently houses over 1,200 prisoners, exceeding its planned capacity by approximately 4 percent, according to August prison service statistics. Since its establishment in the 19th century, the prison has held a significant place in Czech history. Notably, in 1894, it housed 33 of the 68 convicts from the political trial of the "Youth," which included Alois Rašín, the future first finance minister of Czechoslovakia. 

During the communist era, the prison held political dissidents such as General Heliodor Pika, who was executed here in 1949. Prominent figures like Václav Havel and Jiří Dienstbier, along with signatories of Charter 77, were also imprisoned within its walls in the 1970s and 1980s.

As the first episode of the Netflix series unveils the secrets of the Bory prison, viewers can anticipate an eye-opening journey into the heart of the Czech Republic's most formidable prison, complete with unprecedented drone footage that captures its hidden world.

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