In the action blockbuster Escape Plan, out October 18, Sylvester Stallone plays a “security structure expert” who is wrongly incarcerated in one of the futuristic ultraenclosures he helped create. He's forced to (you guessed it) escape—with a little help from a hardened criminal (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a whiz computer analyst (50 Cent). The makeshift team uses low- and high-tech tricks to craft an improbable escape.
Turns out that much of this lock-down tech is already in use in the real world. Plenty of penitentiaries already use advanced technology to keep prisoners from escaping. Here are five real prisons that would take more than a few brainy action heroes to stage a breakout.
1. ADX Florence—Colorado
The "supermax" federal prison is considered the most secure in the U.S.—and possibly the world. With residents that include Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, engineers are serious about preventing breaks. The facility uses motion sensors to keep watch for suspicious activity, remote-controlled doors, pressure pads to detect footfalls, lasers to scan the perimeter and extreme prisoner isolation to ensure security, which means no buddy-plotted escape attempts.
2. Detention Concept Lelystad—the Netherlands
Also known as the "big brother prison," this new house of correction tracks every move of even low-threat inmates' with continual RFID tag pings from mandatory wristbands. The behind-bars bracelets set off an alarm if they are tampered with or removed, and also help prison officials detect movement patterns over time as well as take unscheduled head counts. The facility also boasts automated emotion-recognition software that monitors prison conversations in real-time to detect heated situations that might get out of control.
3. Communication Management Unit, Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute—Indiana
In this special section of the massive federal prison complex in Terre Haute contact with the outside world is drastically curtailed. Almost everyone incarcerated here has terrorist links, including members of the Lackawanna Six and American-born Taliban member John Walker Lindh. Even inside chatter is assessed by counterterrorism experts.
4. Southern Queensland Correctional Precinct—Australia
In this brand-new slammer, which opened last year, vibration sensors profile all incoming and outgoing vehicles for anything as subtle as an unexplained heartbeat. Prisoners receive full-body scans to detect contraband, and biometric scans are required for anyone entering or leaving.
5. Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center—Massachusetts
The surveillance system at this maximum-security joint is so advanced that it is rumored to have been engineered in part by researchers at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Security is important because the pen has held some of the state's most notorious murderers. Outside, borders are monitored by a microwave detection system. Inside, the keyless facility is controlled—from cell doors to showers—by central computers. It boasts a no-escapes record.