Only two cells: the world’s smallest prison took almost 20 years to build (5 photos + 1 video)

27 May 2024

For the entire time, there were only two prisoners within the walls of the isolation ward. One of them was a maid, and the second was an emigrant who declared himself the “lord” of the island of Sark.

Deep inland on one of Britain's smallest islands lies Sark Prison, dubbed the smallest in the world.

The building was built in 1856 in the Channel Islands. It took 20 years to build the smallest prison in the world because no one had the money to do it. And despite the fact that the island on which it is located is “infested” with crime, there is only room inside for two criminals.

The Isle of Sark has an area of just 2.1 square miles and a population of just 562, according to the 2023 census. Tucked away among the picturesque hills, valleys and fields is a very small prison located next to the island's visitor center. The two-room building has remained virtually unchanged since its construction. Over time, electricity and running water were installed.

There is a small corridor between the two rooms. Both cells contain small wooden beds with very thin mattresses for prisoners to sleep on, although the maximum time spent in a cell is only two to three days.

The first prisoner was a young maid who stole a scarf from her mistress. In 1990, armed French nuclear physicist André Gardet arrived on Sark, declaring himself "lord" of the island. On the same day, the rebel was captured by local law enforcement forces and placed in prison for a week's imprisonment. Currently, this case is the last officially documented fact of prisoners being in the island detention center.

Since Andre Garde, not a single serious crime has been committed on the island, the local policeman - and there are only two of them - claims that the island is "infested" with crime.

"In the past (and currently) there have been many people on Sark with various criminal records, which in many cases we do not know about until a new crime is committed. There are many incidents that we cannot do anything about because there is no "We have the appropriate tools and laws at our disposal to combat them, such as speeding, drink driving. All Sark special constables and police officers must be fully trained and equipped with batons and Pava spray for self-defense and the protection of the public," he said. Constable Mike Fawson, who left the island in 2019.

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