Behind Bars: Zenica Prison, Bosnia and Herzegovina | World’s Toughest Prisons

Jul 20, 2023 | Crime, People, Videos

Zenica prison is Bosnia’s largest and toughest prison, with a dark history dating back to 1886. Surviving rebellions, wars, and societal changes, Zenica stands tall even to this day. With almost a thousand inmates arrested for crimes ranging from robbery to war, it’s a prison that continues to challenge both its prisoners and administration every day.
The five and a half meter high walls keep the prison secure, but the absence of firearms means that discipline and physical fitness are vital qualities for the prison police. Boris Soko, a prison officer in charge of security in track 4, is an embodiment of these qualities and has survived an assassination attempt.
But Zenica isn’t just about the people who run it. It’s also about the inmates, their stories, and their paths towards resocialization and reintegration into society. There are three groups of inmates, each with different privileges and degrees of confinement. Group A, for instance, enjoys job opportunities and weekend leave, while Group C is reserved for the most dangerous prisoners in Bosnia and is kept under constant monitoring in solitary confinement.
Despite their differences, everyone in Zenica is afforded time for visitors. However, those who break the rules only receive sixty minutes of visiting time per month, while compliant inmates get three visits instead. In the episode of Behind Bars, you’ll meet Vikovic Dzevad, a Zenica detainee who, for the second time, has been incarcerated for stealing 1,800 Euros from a pensioner.
The documentary provides a glimpse into the lives of the inmates and the prison, with compelling visuals and true-to-life stories. It’s easily one of the most unique prison documentaries of all time and one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

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David B