Behind Bars 2: The World’s Toughest Prisons –  Armavir Prison, Armenia (prison documentary)

Behind Bars 2: The World’s Toughest Prisons – Armavir Prison, Armenia (prison documentary)

Armenia – a
country with a painful past and a present in constant flux. Shaped by former Soviet influence. And branded by the catastrophic economic consequences
of that influence. The majority of the population lives in abject
poverty. Across from them stand powerful elites with
links to organized crime – and a swamp of corruption. Armenia has one of the strictest penal systems
in the world. Even for minor crimes, a person can spend
years behind bars. When your luck has truly run out, you end
up here: In the Armavir Penitentiary. A prison that was built specifically to break
the decades-old gangster culture referred to as “thieves in law.” In other words, criminals who live by their
own rules. [Voice Over] They don’t want to be seen
themselves, but they’re watching us – always trying to control everything. The government seeks to protect its people
from the gangsters – at all costs. [VOICEOVER] I am given the right to shoot
without warning. The criminals that are doing time in here… [VOICEOVER]
I don’t have any problems. I’m cool with everyone here. Everything’s fine. Everything’s the way it’s supposed to
be. … should be kept in here as long as possible. [VOICEOVER]
I was in solitary for eight years and never even saw the sky. The gangsters do come in contact with prison
guards – who are totally overwhelmed And corrupt. [VOICEOVER] Unfortunately, we have to admit
that there are guards here who would smuggle anything for money. [VOICEOVER] Being better than the normal of
Armenia, that kind of a correction is unthinkable. The Armavir Penitentiary – Armenia’s declaration
of war on gangster culture. Eight o’clock in the morning. The prison guards begin their shift. [Voiceover] Morning! The prison is the daily workplace for correctional
officers Aram Hovkannisyan [Aram Howanisjan] and Arman Beglazyan [ Beglajan]. Their daily rounds in the cell block lead
through a closely guarded passageway. All employees and visitors must go through
here. It’s the only way into the prison – and
the only way out. The guards register every single person who
passes through. Cell phones and IDs – everything has to
be handed over here. What is truly surprising though is that it’s
the last place in the cell block that is actually armed. In the Armavir Penitentiary, all guards work
without weapons. No sticks. No pepper spray. Not even handcuffs. [Voice Over] In Armenia there is no official
regulation about whether we have to carry clubs or handcuffs – or anything at all. We do have all of these things, but we don’t
use them. We believe that only provokes the inmates
and makes them more aggressive. They start acting out, banging against the
cell doors – and it definitely leads to faster uprisings. The guards in this prison believe in a non-violent
concept – at least as long as the inmates behave well. [Voice Over]
Of course there have been times when we were attacked. If a prisoner gets violent, we separate them
from the group. We take them immediately out of the block
and put them in solitary confinement. If it becomes necessary, that is where we
might use a club. Inside Armenia’s most modern detention facility,
de-escalation is the order of the day. Outside, two walls and a security fence make
the prison into a fortress. Half a dozen watchtowers encircle the grounds. – so that nothing and nobody gets out of
here. Unlike the prison guards, the security guards
are heavily armed. Their standard weapon is the Kalashnikov AK47. Security Guard Sasun Ghezaoyan [ Sazun Razayan
] has to stay highly alert – whether it’s 40 degrees Celsius in summer or freezing in
winter. Because carrying a gun comes with huge responsibility. [Voiceover] If there’s an escape attempt,
I have the right to shoot without warning. The reason for these drastic security measures
can be traced back to Amarvir’s Block 6. This is where you will find the country’s
most notorious gangsters. Men who live by their own rules, even as prisoners. Someone who knows these men very well is Prison
Psychologist Georg Symonyan [Gewog Simonjan]. [Voiceover]
This is Block 6. There are all kinds of different felons living
here. But the most interesting thing about them
is that they live by a code of honor. They call it “thieves in law.” These men reject any kind of state authority
and have their own laws. The “thieves in law” are members of the
Armenian Mafia. Outside the walls, they rule the Armenian
underground. Even in prison they are very powerful. [Voice Over]
If we took one of these prisoners out of here and isolated him from the group, he’d consider
it an attack on his life. And he’d do anything he could to get back
to the group. He is prepared to do anything and would stop
at nothing – not even an act of violence. The psychologist is one of the few people
of authority who are accepted by the inmates in Block 6. [Voice Over]
It’s not just us watching them the whole time. They’re also watching us. They always want to know what’s going on
at any moment. The real bosses, however, remain in the background. They have their own eyes and ears: The ones
they call “watchers,” who are their link to the outside world. [Voice Over]
If prisoners have committed themselves to this code amongst criminals, such as the “thieves
in law” have done here in Block 6, then the leaders and their henchmen can exert incredible
power over the others. If there are any problems, the prison administration
addresses them directly by talking to the spokesperson from the cell block. Neither side wants any trouble. The silent deal between the Mafia and the
guards is: We don’t interfere in any of your business and you, as inmates yourselves,
make sure Block 6 stays quiet. Gago Galestjan [Gagó Galestjan] is one of
the spokesmen. The prison psychologist “chats” regularly
with him to get a feeling for the current mood. [Voiceover]
In my opinion, no one can ever be completely sure they’ll never end up in prison one
day. Being housed in Block 6 is basically a privilege
for him. –
[Voiceover] Here in our block, it’s important to stick
together. We protect and support each other. No one from the outside is allowed to interfere. That’s why there are only Armenians in Block
6. In a crisis, we Armenians stick together. That’s what’s special about the Armenian
people. The Mafia sticks together. Like a lot of others in Block 6, Gago is doing
time for drug trafficking. He was caught with a half kilo of heroin. That’s a felony in Armenia. At the same time, it’s the main source of
income for the Armenian mafia. This particular subculture originated in the
time of Stalin’s prison camps. When Armenia was a Soviet republic, the Mafia
dramatically expanded its power throughout the prisons. It controls the fate of each and every prisoner. Part of their code is: Don’t speak to anyone
related to the government. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, the influence
of this criminal organization grew. The Armavir Penitentiary is the first attempt
to limit the power of the “thieves in law” and to protect other prisoners from them. One of the ways to achieve this was to divide
the facility into cell blocks. This allowed some of the prisoners who do
not follow the criminal code to be separated from the mafia members. Block 4 is mainly occupied by small-time criminals. Block 5 is reserved for former civil servants,
such as corrupt officials or police officers. The felons are in Blocks 1 through 3 and in
Block 6: These are the violent offenders, drug dealers, and those involved in organized
crime. This is where the thieves in law are in charge. Inmates here live by their own rules. Protecting the other prisoners in the Armavir
Penitentiary – that is one of the duties of Arman and Aram and their 100 colleagues. [Voiceover] Attention! Today you have to be careful! When you’re searching the cells today, look
out for any cutting and stabbing weapons. For Arman and Aram, every shift begins with
a briefing from their commander Khachik Harutyunyan [ Chatschick Harutzjunan ]. They are given
information that also includes details important to their own safety: [Voiceover]
Right face. Go to work! Now they have been made aware of any incidents
that might have occurred, and which prisoners are potentially troublesome. Block 4 is having its weekly cell inspection
today. It’s one of the two blocks whose inmates
have not submitted to the code of “thieves in law.” [VOICEOVER]
Guards and inmates all accounted for. No incidents. All the same, the task is not without its
dangers. Guards have to be prepared for resistance
or even an attack at any time. It is therefore important to have a very specifically
organized search process. The best time for searches is in the mornings,
when everyone is in their cell. Let’s go! In a group of five, the prison officers examine
every cell. Between two and four prisoners live in the
eight square meter cells. Every cell is furnished differently. Only beds and bathroom facilities are provided. The rest has to be provided by the inmates
themselves – from furniture to tableware to cleaning products. Glass, ceramic dishes and metal cutlery are
forbidden. But of course, the inmates periodically attempt
to smuggle things in. The most important part of the search: Arman
uses a rubber mallet to search for signs of escape attempts. And for obscured hiding places. [Voiceover]
It happens a lot that the inmates make holes in the walls to hide things and then fill
them up with sand and wax. But they don’t just examine the cells. [Voiceover]
During the shift change we also look at the prisoners themselves to see if they are in
good shape, or if they look sick or exhibit any signs of abuse. It could happen that someone has done something
to himself during the night, or that another inmate has done something to him. 48 cells – one minute for each inspection. The guards also keep an eye on the food. It could contain homemade alcohol or drugs. During a search, the prisoner is always present
to make sure the guards don’t plant anything. In Cell 405, the guards encounter inmates
who are nervous. And in fact, they do find something here. While searching the cell, they discover a
metal fork, a piece of sandpaper and a self-made immersion heater – all forbidden objects. [Voiceover]
In particular the homemade fork and the homemade immersion heater are extremely dangerous. The metal fork could be used as a weapon. And we pulled this immersion heater out of
circulation… [Voiceover]… simply because these kinds
of homemade things can be deadly. [Voiceover] Unfortunately, we find stuff like
that all the time. [Voiceover] And they use the sandpaper to
finish off the hiding place in the wall, which is covered using old bread and paste. Aram suspects that the objects have been stolen
from the workshop or from one of the tradesmen. Investigation proceedings will now be conducted. In the worst case, the inmates could face
solitary confinement. Those who have been caught before are subjected
to more frequent inspections from the guards. Warden Aram checks the delivery that one of
the prisoners received today from his family. A few days ago, Georg Avangyan [ Gewog Awangjan
] was caught with a forbidden cell phone. Since then he has been under close observation. This time Aram didn’t find a phone. But between the piles of clothes and objects,
he comes across other things that are forbidden in the cells of Armavir. [Voiceover]
A regular plastic bowl like this is no problem – it can’t do any harm. But these ceramic dishes are an absolute no-go. A weapon could be made from broken pieces. Besides the ceramic dishes, Aram also takes
out a sharp knife and a metal fork. [Voiceover] Now this goes back. [Voiceover] Can’t I take this now? [Voiceover] Of course not. During the inspection, the prisoner’s mother
has to wait in an adjacent room. That’s because she’s the one who put the
forbidden items in the package. [Voiceover]
This goes back. [Voiceover] You’re always putting him at a
disadvantage. [Voiceover]
If we had something against him personally, we’d be even tougher on him. [Voiceover]
According to your list, you assured us that you would take the china and cutlery back,
but you did not do so. I’m reminding you again, that you are in
violation of prison rules. Today, prisoner Georg Avangyan’s family
gets off with a warning. [Voiceover]
I can’t say that families are just naive and don’t know what is and is not allowed
into the prison. They take advantage of the situation that
there aren’t enough guards to carry out these checks on a consistent basis. The three of us who are on duty now have to
check a total of 700 inmates. There’s no way we can do that. And the families know that we’re understaffed. So they take their chances and hope they can
manage to sneak something into the prison. It’s a dilemma. The state will not spend more money on its
prisoners, and there aren’t enough guards to control the situation. Georg Avangyan has been in prison for one
year. [Voiceover]
Prison management only makes sure that it’s warm here in winter. For everything else, you’re on your own. You have to bring your own fan and refrigerator. If you don’t have any family to help you
out, it’s difficult to get through the months here. Georg Avangyan is in prison for the third
time – on multiple burglary and theft convictions. He just can’t seem to stop. [Voiceover]
It’s hard to explain. Imagine that you’re sitting at a table totally
overflowing with food. Of course, at some point, you’re going to
get hungry. Maybe you can keep away from the food for
24 hours or so, but at some point, you’re going to want to take some. Avangyan is looking at three more years behind
bars. Because he’s always making trouble, he doesn’t
stand a chance of early release. [Voiceover]
They found a cell phone on me. That’s why I lost my job here at the prison. But I’m not giving up my phone just to try
to get out earlier. No way – I’m just going to get another
one. They’re not going to release me early no
matter what I do. So I don’t care. Georg Avangyan’s stubbornness brings him into
repeated conflict with the guards. The next confrontation is already brewing. Aram found him in possession of a knife. And it wasn’t the first time. [Voiceover]
How else am I supposed to do it? My parents also send me groceries, like salad. How am I supposed to cut it without a knife? [Voiceover]
You get food from the prison. You don’t have to cook. So you don’t need a knife. [Voiceover]
We’re only talking about salad. In Block 4, Georg Avangyan is by now considered
to be a real troublemaker. The other inmates don’t like it. After his quarrel with the guard, some prisoners
take him aside and have a talk with him. They’re worried that they will also be more
strictly controlled if he keeps causing trouble. Even if such conflicts are commonplace, Arman
does not simply take them in stride. [Voiceover] These situations stress me out
so much that I go home and yell at my wife for no reason. She’ll be like: “Why are you yelling at
me?” And I yell back, “I’m not yelling.” It’s absurd. In Armenia, family plays a vital role. There is a long tradition of relatives taking
care of the prisoners. Every day at the Armavir Penitentiary, bags
and packages pile up in the holding area. Each prisoner may have up to 70 kilos delivered
per month. The relatives often come by in person. Today, Ariana Nahopetyan [ Ariana Nahapetzjan
] has brought food for her brother-in-law. [Voiceover] Today I brought pilaf, chicken,
salad, bread, juice, cigarettes, sugar, tea, and coffee. Everything he asked for. My brother-in-law is used to home cooking. So we bring him things from the region where
we live. This tastes much better than the prison slop
and the quality is a lot better, of course. Twice a month, Ariana Nahopetyan’s family
brings food worth 200 euros. That’s equivalent to the average monthly
wage in Armenia. [Voiceover]
The food helps my brother-in-law and the other prisoners not to feel so alone while they
are locked up in here. They realize we are thinking of them at home
while we are cooking them dinner. The deliveries are a way for Ariana’s sister’s
husband to stay in touch with his family. Meanwhile there’s a lot of activity in the
canteen kitchen. This is where the normal food is prepared. At Armavir, the prisoners cook for themselves. Even the head chef is an inmate. [Voiceover]
Today we’re having bean soup with potatoes. With a side of rice. The food in Armavir is strictly rationed. Each inmate gets 500 grams of main course
and 200 grams of side dish per day. The inmates eat in their cells. [Voiceover] You want any? [Voiceover] What is it? Rice? I’ll take some! Many prisoners completely refuse to eat the
bad prison food and try to survive only on what they can get themselves. For this reason, food inspection continues
in full swing. Packages brought in by family members carry
a significant security risk. Relatives often take advantage of the opportunity
to smuggle contraband. Every day, Arman and his colleague Georg have
to inspect an average of 500 kilograms worth of goods. They are mainly checking for alcohol and drugs
that may be hidden in the food. [Voiceover]
Sometimes we discover drugs that have been mixed into the food. But that usually reduces their effect. So they prefer to hide it well-camouflaged
somewhere in the package. An X-ray scanner helps the guards in their
search. [Voiceover]
Okay, now that looks suspicious. You can tell by the color. [Voiceover] But it could also just be salt
and pepper. [Voiceover] Was I right? [Voiceover] The color is gone. It’s all good. The deliveries are clean today. But smuggling remains a major problem for
the prison. Besides drugs, cell phones are also a coveted
commodity. The guards regularly seize dozens of them. Homemade weapons and tools are also popular
with the prisoners. [Voiceover] This thing here was most certainly
used as a lock pick. [Voiceover] This tool here was used by an
inmate to scratch holes into the wall. That’s where they hide the contraband, like
smartphones for example. Prisoners and their families get very creative
when it comes to smuggling. [Voiceover] We’ve had cases where we found
drugs in melons or cell phones in cakes. And sad as it is, a few of our colleagues
here are willing to smuggle in all kinds of things for money. It’s one of our great weaknesses here, because
it’s very difficult to control. And there is yet another weak point in the
Armenian prison system: In the chaotic years following the collapse of the Soviet Union,
several prisoners were sentenced to death. Later their sentences were converted to life
in prison. Whether or not they’ll ever be free again
is anyone’s guess. In some instances, the records of the case
no longer exist. It’s a hopeless situation that often precipitates
desperate acts. Escape attempts are therefore not uncommon. To get a handle on this problem, Commander
Harutyunan [ Harutzijan] has put together a special team of investigators. [Voiceover] This bulletin board shows everyone
serving a life sentence in Armavir. That’s the group most likely to think about
breaking out. [Voiceover] Here on the blue bulletin board
are all the inmates we’ve been warned about. Internal sources have told us they have tried
to break out before or are planning to. I have to admit that some of them are really
smart about it. Like these two here, who were the last to
make an attempt. It was a spectacular escape attempt – and
one that happened on Arman’s and Aram’s watch. The cell is now a lesson for the guards – to
better recognize signals in the future. [Voiceover] This is where two prisoners recently
tried to break out. The investigation is currently underway, and
we are trying to solve the mystery of how they managed to saw through the bars without
anyone noticing. What remains is an embarrassing memorial:
The tools and other materials used for the escape attempt. Arman is still scratching his head: [Voiceover] Unfortunately, we have to admit
that we simply did not notice anything. They both behaved totally inconspicuously. We wouldn’t have noticed anything until the
end if we hadn’t gotten a tip from an informant. The almost-escapees have been in solitary
confinement ever since. Arsen is an inmate who also hangs on the pinboard
of potential escapees. That’s because he’s one of the lifers
in Armavir. He’s already spent half his life in prison. 4 square meter for each offender, you cannot
say that is sufficient, but the life is here only in this square. We are allowed to stay with two people. If 4 people were here, we can not study for
example. As a member of a left-wing extremist terrorist
group, Arsen was sentenced to death in 1996 for instigating a double murder. The sentences were converted to life in prison
in 2003. The first seven years were death sentence
we were death row. So Half of us have died in the prison. Because the conditions were, i dont want to
talk about it. And we tried to change ourself, our mentality
and how we see the world and life. And we decided to give meaning to our life
inside the prison. Arsen began to study psychology. He’s the first Armenian prisoner to earn
a university degree. Now he is working on a doctoral thesis on
prison psychology. His own experiences as a lifer are quite useful. He is acutely aware of the hierarchies and
structures in Armavir. Controlling a prison is very easy for the
subculture. Because the authority of prisons is corrupted. If you are an offender and you want to change,
be a better person, you must to be better than the policemen, who is controlling you. So this decision is very difficult to take. Being better than the normal of Armenia, that
kind of a correction is unthinkable. According to the Corruption Index of Transparency
International, Armenia ranks 107th – along with Ethiopia, Macedonia, and Vietnam. There are also plenty of secret dealings going
on at Armavir Penitentiary. But Arsen is still trying to use legal channels
to petition the court for a pardon. Corruption is not the only problem though. Like all prisons in the country, Armavir Penitentiary
is fighting the problem of drug addiction. Heroin and crack are particularly widespread
throughout the country, and many of the inmates are addicted when they get to prison. Prison authorities suspect that the “thieves
in law” from Block 6 are trying to keep them that way. Since the understaffed guards cannot eliminate
the problem of smuggling, they try to get the prisoners clean by means of a methadone
program. Timur, from Georgia, is among those in the
program. [VOICEOVER] I’m not strong enough to stop
using drugs by myself. But the methadone helps to control my addiction. The substitute drug begins to take effect
30 minutes after it is ingested. It lasts for about four hours. This way, the facility attempts to keep its
drug-addicted inmates happy. [VOICEOVER] I’m sure if we suddenly stopped
giving out methadone, there’d be riots immediately. The program is also designed to curb the level
of criminality in the prison. [VOICEOVER] The point of this replacement
program is making sure we addicts no longer have to worry so much about where we can best
get the drugs. Here, too, those responsible are counting
on de-escalation. In Block 6 the prisoners are responsible for
their own well-being. Here the Armenian mafia lives by its own rules. [VOICEOVER] There are absolutely no problems
in here. The people here are cool, completely normal,
and do the right thing. The prisoners are at harmony with each other. That is our Armenian mentality. We are authentic. It’s not like in African or American prisons. We aren’t brutal thugs. We are here in Armenia. We use our heads. We are always polite. We say, “Good morning, bon appetit, hello,
how are you?” Mafia law forbids divulging information about
internal affairs. Toward the outside world, everything is always
relaxed. Before going to prison, Amar was a professional
boxer. The sport brought him all the way to France. He won’t say just what it was that got him
off track. [VOICEOVER] I got a lion tattoo and a fish tattoo here. Gangster and Jesus. That’s just my style. He still has six years to serve for attempted
murder. For him it was clear that only Block 6 would
do. [VOICEOVER] This is my family here – my
real family. It’s like your family at home. The only difference is that we’re trapped
here. Many of the inmates in Block 6 have a hard
time even imagining life outside the prison walls. But the ex-boxer Amar, who still has a few
more years of prison ahead of him, has concrete ideas about what his time after Armavir could
look like. [VOICEOVER]
This here is our home. Our Armenian home. I’d like to get back into professional boxing
when I get out of here. I’m 35 years old now. There is no professional boxing in Armenia. That’s why I want to box in America or Europe. It is this hope that keeps Amar Wardanyan
upstanding while in prison. In Block 4, Commander Harutyunan [Harutzjanan]
and the guard Arman have an appointment with Georg, the rebellious prisoner. The interview and the argument with the guard
made quite a stir. Georg fears that his fellow prisoners will
take revenge on him. Which is why he asked for a solitary cell. [Voiceover]
Can you please leave? We need the room! [VOICEOVER] If a prisoner asks to be transferred
to another cell or another prison, we must first understand exactly what the problem
is. Only after an interview do we decide whether
we will grant the application. [VOICEOVER] Hello! How are you doing? [VOICEOVER]
Alright. [VOICEOVER]
Sit down! [VOICEOVER] Why are you afraid and want to
change cells? [VOICEOVER]
I broke the rules. I talked too much to the prison officials. That’s against the code. [VOICEOVER] Did you talk about specific people? Did you mention names? [VOICEOVER]
I may have talked too much about the situation here, and other things. [VOICEOVER]
I understand. Has the Mafia gained influence over Block
4? There isn’t usually any talk of a “code.” [Voiceover] There are no Mafia members in
your block, and there’s no criminal code in force here. I really don’t think the “thieves in law”
control your block. Therefore, I see no reason why I should grant
your request. [Voiceover] Georg, I guarantee that I will
make sure you are safe. I assure you, we have everything under control. We will talk to the other prisoners and help
you work out the problem. But you need to return to your cell. [VOICEOVER]
I don’t know what you mean. I don’t feel comfortable. [VOICEOVER]
Think about it. I’ll do everything in my power to keep you
safe. Take care of yourself! You can go now… [VOICEOVER]
Okay, thank you! Georg Avangyan can only hope that Commander
Harutyunan is right and that his block is still free of the influence of organized criminals. Otherwise he faces some uncertain times. The sisters Ariana and Marine Nahopetyan are
also aware of the violence that exists amongst the prisoners. Because they are worried about their imprisoned
family member, they visit him twice a month. It’s a burden for all involved. [VOICEOVER] We have to wait here for up to
eight hours. It’s even worse on holidays. On days like these, we almost regret coming
here. We’ve been here since 8 a.m. and have to
wait until four or five in the afternoon. And we have the children with us. How are we supposed to be able to be on our
feet here for all that time? This also applies to her brother-in-law’s
case. He’s in custody for drug possession. But nobody knows when the trial will start. Until then, he’ll stay in prison. Only the prospect of seeing her husband and
the father of her children gives Marine Nahopetyan, Ariana’s sister, and her family the wherewithal
to wait. Finally, the time has come. [VOICEOVER]
We’re allowed to come here twice a month. Once you have survived the waiting, everything
is fine again. Then we can decide how much time we want to
spend with my husband. Even if it’s exhausting every time, it’s
always worth the wait. Marine and her children have come to know
exactly how each visit will unfold. Goodbye It’s a very short happy ending. In just a few hours, the visit will be over. Then the waiting starts all over again. One of the other prisoners in Armavir Penitentiary
is still hoping for his own happy ending. Arsen Arstruni [ Arseen Azruni] has been in
prison for over 20 years. His daily walks in the yard and conversations
with his cellmates were not a matter of course during his first years there. [VOICEOVER]
For three or four hours everyday, they allow us to get out. 8 years I was only in a single cell, never
came out to have a recreation and to see the sky, not even through the bars. The sky today is very beautiful sky. He is comforted by his only friend, Asher
Monukyan [Ascher Monukjan]. As a 19-year-old conscript, he shot two companions
during a fight. In prison, the two started out as cell neighbors. He asked me to teach him in English. But we were in separate rooms then in 2000. So I started to teaching him by using small
papers that you throw or hang. And he replied by doing his homework for two…ARMENIAN
or three years. We correspondent betweens rooms. Teaching English and Learning English with
little secrets…so that changed him. It changed me, too. Because I saw that I could help. Even if Arsen Arstruni seems to have been
completely rehabilitated, his chances of ever living in freedom again are quite low. The murders he committed as a left-wing extremist
in the 1990s are too serious. Georg Avangyan has dared to return to his
old cell. He doesn’t think he’ll ever get back on the
right track. [VOICEOVER]
The chances of me landing back in jail are about 50:50. The fact is, when I get out of here and look
for a job, they will want to see my criminal record. So then everyone will know about my past. Which is why I barely have a chance at honest
work. Boxer and Mafia member Amar Wardanyan has
his own opinion of prison structures. [VOICEOVER] Prison doesn’t change people. A good person is still a good person, even
if he doesn’t get out for 10 years. You are the same person when you get out. Arsen wants to continue to fight for his release
in court. I myself as an individual dont believe in
chance, every decision you make, will lead you and towers your destiny. Marine Nahopetyan and her family hope they
will soon know when their husband and brother-in-law will finally be allowed to leave one of the
country’s toughest prisons. Until then, they will continue to visit him
as often as possible. For the guards Arman Beglazyan and Aram Hovkannisyan,
6 p.m. is finally quitting time. They leave the prison walls behind them until
the next shift change. Physically, at least. [VOICEOVER] We have to solve many problems
all over the place, throughout the entire day, and do our work as well as we can. It’s really not always that easy. [VOICEOVER]
I’m very glad nothing bad happened today. But right now I’m feeling totally exhausted. What I’d really like to do is put this exhaustion
behind bars. I would love to go home to my family feeling
fresh and not bring all these negative emotions with me. The stress for both of them won’t stop that
soon – not as long as the Armavir Penitentiary hasn’t won the struggle against the influence
of the “thieves in law”.

20 thoughts on “Behind Bars 2: The World’s Toughest Prisons – Armavir Prison, Armenia (prison documentary)



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    🌝Enjoy the beauty of nature. 🌞

  2. this fucking jail is like a holiday in………..i would come there to get away wtf like for real can i go to this jail. fucking dude had a knife in his hand and the guard didnt even flinch

  3. How does that methadone maintenance work!! In my experience they get the right amount once a day cause it has a long after life so stay long in your system, what dosages are they issuing are they giving a dose every 4 to 5 hours? Anyway, this is only one prison there's always a prison or 2 that will be a real shit hole no matter what country you are in!!

  4. If he wants to leave the stress behind bars for when he gets home then he should smoke a joint on the way home. Wish granted.

  5. The one thing I've learned from all these prison episodes is prisons do nothing to cause any change.

    Yeah sure, it'll punish the criminals, but change? Nothing changes. 0.

  6. 13:48 I saw sound woofer in a jail !!!
    14:53 I just saw a CRT TV backside of the guy wearing black dress

    If this type of accommodation provided in jail for top-level criminals then why will they feel scary by the name of a 'Jail'?

  7. Laptops, refrigerators, tv's cigarettes, a kitchen table, personal clothing, 70 pounds of food monthly flower pods….. Yep it's one of the tougher prisons I've seen

  8. No sticks, no pepper spray… Okay. That's still stupid as fuck if you ask me. But, NO HANDCUFFS..!? That's just plain Idiocracy.. 🤷🤷🤦🤦🤦

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