In Netflix’s Inside World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2, host Raphael Rowe, who himself spent 12 years wrongfully incarcerated, delves into the Czech Republic’s notorious Plzen prison. This penal institution has earned its reputation as the Crystal Meth prison, reflecting the country’s pervasive issue of methamphetamine abuse within its walls.
Rowe discovers that methamphetamine, known locally as Pervitin, has permeated every corner of Plzen prison. Rowe sheds light on the severity of the issue, revealing that meth has become so commonplace that (supposedly) even the fish in the surrounding waters appear to be addicted to it.
Indeed, at least one study has been quoted about meth-addicted fish in the country.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2 recap: Meth epidemic/meet the inmates
Upon entering Plzen prison, Rowe undergoes a thorough strip search (a common occurrence on Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons), emphasizing the prison’s commitment to strict security measures. He encounters inmates Petr, Kuba, and Marek, all of whom are there to receive treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.
Former inmates, referred to as hotovci, stay on to monitor others, ensuring a semblance of order within the prison walls. Communication within the prison is tightly regulated, with unauthorized interaction resulting in disciplinary actions for Rowe.
The consequences of minor infractions, such as failing to button up one’s coat, can lead to solitary confinement. Inmates are subjected to regular drug tests and counseling, and they are responsible for maintaining a rigorous cleaning regimen throughout the prison.
Petr, who ended up in prison due to trouble in his teens, shares a poignant story of being separated from his family. His father’s violent alcoholism served as a negative influence, pushing Petr towards a destructive path.
Meanwhile, Jakub’s involvement in meth production was driven by the mistaken belief that the chemicals used were also present in fireworks, assuming he might escape legal consequences.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2 recap: Treatment and challenges
Inmates like Petr stress the importance of maintaining immaculate cells, as any noticeable dust could lead to a loss of privileges. Some prisoners admit to planning to continue using drugs even after their release, highlighting the challenges in breaking the cycle of addiction.
The prison offers job training programs, with individuals like Anthony learning new skills as part of their rehabilitation.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2 recap: A Glimpse into the guards’ lives
On day 5, Rowe continues the established tradition of Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons episodes, by joining the guards to gain insight into their daily challenges. He observes a drug-sniffing dog inspecting envelopes in the mailroom, underlining the prison’s constant vigilance.
Riot training is also a part of the guards’ routine, and Raphael Rowe himself steps into the role of a riotous prisoner to demonstrate how the guards must train. Rowe is not allowed to interview inmates in the segregation unit, where individuals can be confined for up to 28 days.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2 recap: Struggles and respect
In a candid moment, inmate Marek reveals his ongoing struggle to overcome addiction. Despite the hardships, there is mutual respect between Rowe and the inmates.
Rowe questions Colonel Pavel Kocacka, the prison director, about the stringent cleaning regime, seeking to understand the reasoning behind such strict measures. The fact is, Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons doesn’t entirely get into the heart of the prison’s logic on that topic, but it seems mostly to simply be about breaking down the prisoners psychologically and, frankly, imposing an authoritarian approach to life and control.
Keep in mind, the Department of Justice itself has addressed the authoritarian nature of prisons, noting on one page of their website that, “The authoritarian model of prison management dominated 19th century penology in both theory and practice. This model was characterized by an arbitrary system of centralized one-man rule (the prison warden) and repressive social control.”
As we have seen before on Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, it’s often the case that punishment is emphasized in prison as a way of life, arguably more than necessary in many cases.
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7, episode 2 recap: Conclusion
This episode of Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons provides a harrowing glimpse into the challenges faced by inmates battling addiction within the confines of Plzen prison. It underscores the complex web of issues that contribute to the perpetuation of drug abuse behind bars and the difficult journey toward rehabilitation and recovery.
The so-called, “Crystal Meth Prison” serves as a stark reminder of the broader societal problems that penetrate even the most formidable prison walls.
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You can watch Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons season 7 on Netflix!