A chilling new documentary gives us a glimpse of 'the world's most dangerous prison' where inmates run the prison with guns and grenades and guards are too scared to enter.
The General Penitentiary of Venezuela in Guarico State in the north of the South American country is notorious for its brutality.
Its prisoners run drug businesses, and prison guards and even armed state troops are too scared to seize back control.
As per reports, wives, girlfriends, and kids go in and out of the prison as they please. The inmates also host bizarre Disney-themed parties, music festivals, and raves at the weekends.
Gay prisoners, however, are forced to live on the roof.
Andrés Figueredo Thomson, the director of the La Cause documentary, spent eight years in the jail making the film.
'This Place is not a Normal Prison'
The Venezuelan Prisons Observatory even revealed that some prisoners were recently forced to kill a Rottweiler for food because they had nothing else to eat.
Speaking about filming the documentary, Thomson described it as an 'overwhelming experience.'
The 29-year-old said:
"Seeing inmates with weapons with grenades, the smell...literally excrement coming from the walls. Absolutely deplorable conditions."
"It was like a war zone. A post-apocalyptic thing. To see children going in and out of the prison... and being around guns."
"There was a guy selling crack with a baby in his arms."
The prison, like others in the South American country, is run by criminal gangs led by a kingpin who enforces a strict governing on everyday life.
Inmates Armed with Guns Rule the Jail
Those that break the 'rules' are shot by ruthless enforcers called 'Watchmen' using stolen police guns customized to order in special jailhouse workshops.
The documentary takes its name from 'The Cause,' which is the tax prison overlords collect from inmates to purchase goods.
And if an inmate fails to pay, they are then sent to the 'church' which is as 'a prison within the prison.'
In addition, prisoners are split into three groups: 'thugs,' 'evangelicals' and 'renegades,' Thomson said.
The filmmaker also revealed that whichever group an inmate finds themselves in will determine what life they'll lead in the facility.
"Thugs are the people who are the free-ist inside the prison… They can walk wherever they want to. They can also smoke weed and do drugs in the prison."
"The evangelicals, if they are walking about, have to have a bible in their hands and wear a tie. They are also in charge of cleaning the prison and are also in charge of cooking."
"The renegades - the ones who are worst off - are like the prisoners within the prison."
While this paints a pretty grim picture of life in the prison, Thomson revealed the kingpins have amazingly made the jail safer. That's because prisoners know they'll get a severe punishment if they step out of line.
So, trouble rarely breaks out.
"They have brought some sort of order out of the chaos."
La Causa also shows how the prison is also home to a bizarre zoo of terrifying wild animals such as monkeys and big cats.