Location: Cebu, Philippines
Notable Residents: n/a
Amenities: You can dance your sentence away
This maximum security prison is probably best known for engaging prisoners in extracurricular activities, like dance. In 2007, a video featuring inmates dancing to "Thriller" was uploaded to YouTube. It became an instant viral sensation. The dance program was introduced by Byron F. Garcia, named head of the prison, as a way to keep inmates active for an hour every day. After noticing prisoners exercising in the yard, he figured a synchronized dance routine would be a good idea.
The popularity of the video led to several public performances, and one at Cebu City's Founding Day celebration raked in a 1.6 million peso donation. Each prisoner was given 1,000 pesos. Ten hours after learning of Michael Jackson's death in 2009, prisoners organized a nine-and-a-half minute routine to a medley of Jackson songs that was performed before hundreds of spectators at the prison.
While this is a positive example of prisoners using their incarceration constructively, let's also not forget that CPDRC is still a prison. It has been criticized for the dance routines, as many believe that the routines are not an acceptable form of rehabilitation, that they actually exploit prisoners. Former prisoners have claimed that violence was used against those who refused to participate, and like many prisons in the Philippines, there are issues with overcrowding and sanitation. It may be a pop culture phenomenon, but it's not a game.