Top 10 List: Best Real Life And Most Famous Daring Prison Escapes Ever (Of All Time) – The Biggest + Greatest + Most Ingenious + Most Successful Past And Recent Inmate Escapes In The History Of The United States Of America (USA) And The World!!!

Being incarcerated 24/7 while being deprived of freedom and the things you love can sometime drive an inmate crazy and make him desperate to breakout out of prison especially if he’s serving decades behind bars or a life sentencing. Some of these inmates have very bright minds and spend all day watching and analyzing behaviors and structural neglects so they can eventually find weaknesses and flaws within the correctional facility, personnel and shift changes. So without further ado here are the top 10 most craziest, notorious, worst, unimaginable and unbelievable prison escapes in the history of mankind (most televised high risk escapees from the United States Of America (USA) and worldwide):

1. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. He is one o fthe leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. He has been one of the top kingpins of drug trafficking for several years, and has been captured several times. But what makes this man so dangerous may shock some, as he has been captured many times, and has also been able to escape prison on multiple occasions. As the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, he has been able to garner serious success in the underworld, trafficking tons of cocaine to the United States. It has been noted that he has been able to distribute upwards of 500 tons of drugs throughout the United States from Mexico, even though he’s been captured several times. He is wanted in many different areas, including Mexico, The United States, and has been wanted since 2001. Details of his escapes have created pop culture lore, and he is one of the most powerful individuals inside and outside of prison.

The First Escape

January 19, 2001 the first major escape occurred. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was able to bribe several people in prison to help him escape. Authorities note that upwards of 78 people helped him get from a laundry cart out of the front door of the prison, and away in the darkness of night. He had masterminded this plan of action by bribing guards, and individuals of influence. This was one of the most daring escapes, and while he was able to get away, many individuals received further indictments and charges for helping him escape.

The Second Escape

On July 11, 2015, another escape occurred. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was in prison in a maximum-security cell where he was being watched carefully. The escape here is one of interesting elements. Guzman was able to leave his cell through a tunnel that was 33 feet deep under a shower area. A motorcycle waited for him, and he took it to go through the tunnel and escape into San Juanita. He went missing late at night, but the prison didn’t realize that he was missing until about an hour later, and even though the prison was locked down, he had fled into the night.

Guzman was the target of manhunts after each escape and thanks to the coordinated efforts of Mexican and American agencies, he is now in custody and this time has not been able to escape. However, with two escapes under his belt, it may not be too long before he finds a way to get out again.

2. David Sweat and Richard Matt

Richard Matt has been escaping from custody since he was a young man. He was in trouble with the law since he was 13 years old, and was able to get away with a variety of crimes before getting shot trying to escape a Mexican prison in 2007. It was in 2007 that he was able to get to the roof of a prison before he was shot several times trying to get away. But that wasn’t the wildest of his escapes, as in 2015 he was able to move away from prison with David Sweat. David Seat and Richard Matt were able to create a serious escape, that was quite elaborate, and well executed.

The Clinton Correctional Escape

June 6, 2015, these two prisoners were able to escape from upstate New York. The two men were able to create a tunnel through a wall. They were able to create a breach in the wall that ran 500 feet to freedom. This method was very familiar to those that follow pop culture as it was the same methodology that was used in the Stephen King novel and movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. This allowed the individuals to not only crawl out of the prison, but escape without getting caught. However, this was not the end of the story, despite the daring escape that took on a whole new world of escape.

Capture of Richard Matt

Once out of the Clinton Correction Facility, the two inmates ran off and a manhunt began. Richard Matt was first captured, but during the frenetic find, he was shot to death. He made it near Lake Titus in New York and was found and killed Jun 26, 2015.

Capture of David Sweat

David Sweat was able to get further than Matt. While Matt was killed on June 26, 2015, Sweat was able to run towards the Canada and US border. He wasn’t able to cross, as a manhunt caught up with him on June 28, just two days after Matt was killed. Law enforcement shot Sweat twice before capturing him. He was taken to a hospital, and placed back into prison.

The Bigger Picture

David Sweat and Richard Matt were able to collectively work a way out of the Clinton Correctional Facility thanks to strategic removal of a wall on the south side of the prison. The wall was created over time, little by little, and it led to their freedom on June 6, 2015.

3. Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin

June 1962 was the year that the famed Alcatraz prison was proven to be a place where one could escape. Previously, this was a prison that was said to be a place where no one could escape. But thanks to the Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin, this place was in fact not that secure after all. The bold escape that occurred on June 11, 1962 saw four inmates get out, and leave this place behind. A documentary was made about the people that escaped, with the Anglin Brothers possibly still alive and well in Brazil.

The Escape

Frank Morris was able to consider escaping first. He was focused on getting out for some time, and had previously been able to escape another prison. This time around he was able to get the Anglin brothers involved, and the process of working for six months had allowed the men to start working towards their brave escape. They worked for months, creating a tunnel that was made through their cell out to a corridor behind their cell. They used spoons and drills that were improvised from cleaning equipment.

Aside from creating a hole in their cell, they started to work on creating papier-mache elements of their faces and body. When the night came for them to leave, they put dummy heads and pillows that made it look like they were in their cells asleep. They would go through the hole, into a corridor and out of the prison. Guards heard noises as the team broke out, but they did not hear anything else, so they did not chase anyone and didn’t realize that Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin were out.

Investigation Afterwards

It wasn’t until the next day that the guards realized that these individuals had left. Within a couple of days, the Coast Guard and several other agencies were looking for the men. The men escaped into the night thanks to an inflatable raft. After 17 years of investigation, the FBI stopped searching for the men. However, the U.S. Marshals still have a warrant for their arrest.
What Happened To Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin?
The official story claims that the men may have died trying to reach the outside world. Since Alcatraz was an island, getting away required a great deal of warmth, considering the freezing waters and tides. However, no remains have been found, and after much investigation from various sources, it has been shown that escape and survival could be plausible overall. However, the men have disappeared into the night and have never been found.

4. John Dillinger

John Dillinger is one of the most iconic gangsters in the United States. He was most prolific during the time frame of the Great Depression in the United States. He is a bank robber, murder, and thief that was able to not only thwart law enforcement, but was able to escape prison. There has been a lot of stories told about this man, and though he was gunned down, there are several elements of his life that seem beyond compare. With that in mind, consider his famed escape from prison.

Crown Point Indiana

John Dillinger was caught and put into prison in Crown Point. He was locked up in January of 1934. He would be in jail for some time, and the police kept telling the media that their jail cells were escape proof. Well that wasn’t all the truth as John Dillinger determined to escape, did just that on March 3, 1934.

The escape is one of many debates, including even the most trusted historians. The official story, or at least the one that is often told is that Dillinger fashioned a gun out of a bar of soap and some elements found in his cell. This realistic looking gun was enough to get the deputy to open his cell and let him out. Representatives of the famed gangster have gone on record to state that the gun was real, although some argue that the gun was fake.
Regardless of the details, John Dillinger was able to escape a prison that was supposedly escape proof. He took off and immediately robbed a bank in South Dakota, and then robbed another bank in Iowa. He was a prolific bank robber, and had no regard for the law, nor the jail that would house him for a few months.

Death of Dillinger

Though the escape of Dillinger is one of great literature and lore, it should be noted that he didn’t evade police for long. Within a few months he would be killed outside of a movie theater in Chicago. Federal agents swooped in on him and shot into an alley, eventually hitting the criminal several times before he was pronounced dead. July 22, 1934 is the official date of his death. The stories of John Dillinger are subject of literature, movies, and more. He garnered great success in robbing banks and much more, but even his greatest escape couldn’t thwart him from losing his life several months after the fact.

5. Pascal Payet

Pascal Payet is an illusive criminal that was able to escape prison after attempting to do so many times. He is a French criminal that was able to get through security, and even hijack a helicopter to get away from prison. He is in custody at this point, and has been since 2007. But before getting back to prison, he was able to quite a bit of damage, including murderer, grand theft auto, and more.

The First Escape

In what would become an interesting story, Pascal Payet found himself captured and in prison in 1999. However, in October of 2001 he was able to garner a huge amount of success in his attempts to evade the law. He hijacked a helicopter with a partner. This was in Luynes in France. He hijacked a helicopter and got away. His partner was captured a few days later, but Payet was not. He would be on the run for a couple of years before a second escape would make him absolutely famous.

A Second Escape?

While this is not a secondary escape for Payet, it certainly involves him. You see, in April of 2003 he was able to organize a helicopter escape from the same prison, this time getting 3 other criminals with him. That’s right, he was already on the run, then got into a helicopter and broke out 3 other criminals! They were all captured within 3 weeks of the daring escape, but he still managed to garner notoriety with this incredible feat.

Third Escape

In 2007, masked men hijacked a helicopter from Cannes – Mandelieu and took it to free Payet. The masked men managed to pick up the criminal and the me escaped until they were captured several months later. The escape occurred in July, and in September of that same year, Pascal Payet was caught and transferred to Spain. He would be stuck in prison after this and his location has been kept secret because he had previously escaped.

That’s the end of Pascal Payet’s story for now. He is locked away in prison in an undisclosed region of France. He managed to escape at least twice, and help others escape via helicopter, creating international fame for himself. However, he will not be able to be released without serving a full sentence for his many robberies, and assaults. Despite this, Payet is an internationally recognized criminal, thanks to his daring escapes and assistance to fellow prisoners getting out of prison as well.

6. Texas Seven


December 13, 2000 7 men were able to thwart authorities in Kenedy, Texas. These men would be called the Texas Seven and they were able to escape the John B. Connally Unit. Even though they managed get away from authorities, they were captured roughly a month after their escape thanks to the nationwide show “America’s Most Wanted”.

The Seven

There were seven individuals that escaped, several of which were executed. While one committed suicide, and several are waiting for execution, 4 have been executed in Texas. The elaborate scheme was concocted by ring leader George Angel Rivas. The men concocted a scheme that saw them restraining individuals that were just doing maintenance work, and eventually forcing officers to let them go.

The Escape

The actual escape involved several different phases, the first being to overpower several workers during a slow point during the day. They were able to do this, and then change clothing, stealing identification, keys, and more from their victims. With stolen clothing, they managed to evade video monitors, with their disguises and stole a truck to then leave the prison walls behind.


The Texas Seven left the prison and ran amuck throughout Kenedy, Texas. They broke into various locations, and robbed a Radio Shack before heading out to rob sporting goods store, stealing guns and ammo. Police were called, but first responders were ambushed and killed while trying to capture the criminals.
America’s Most Wanted

On January 20, 2001, a national broadcast talked about the Texas Seven and that they were at large. That helped local law enforcement, and several other agencies seek out the men and capture them. Within a few short days after the show was aired, the men were captured. Several of the men were taken without incident, however, one had shot himself. After being captured, the Texas Seven were all sentenced to death, and as of today, several have been executed with lethal injection.

The Texas Seven received a lot of media attention after their capture, with several documentaries talking about how they were able to escape. The seven men used strongarm tactics to steal identification, and pull the elaborate plan in several phases. Though they got away initially, they didn’t get far, as they continued a crime spree and didn’t lay low at all. With so much attention on them, it was only a matter of time before they were caught. Those that are alive, are awaiting execution.

The group included the following Texas state prisoners:

1) Joseph Christopher Garcia (born November 6, 1971, in San Antonio, Texas), on Texas Death Row awaiting execution.

2) Randy Ethan Halprin (born September 13, 1977, in McKinney, Texas), on Texas Death Row awaiting execution.

3) Larry James Harper (September 10, 1963, in Danville, Illinois – January 22, 2001, in Woodland Park, Colorado), committed suicide before he could be captured by law enforcement.

4) Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr. (born October 3, 1961, in Dallas, Texas), on Texas Death Row awaiting execution.

5) Donald Keith Newbury (May 18, 1962, in Albuquerque, New Mexico – February 4, 2015, in Huntsville, Texas), executed.

6) George Angel Rivas, Jr. (May 6, 1970, in El Paso, Texas – February 29, 2012, in Huntsville, Texas), executed.

7) Michael Anthony Rodriguez (October 29, 1962, in San Antonio, Texas – August 14, 2008, in Huntsville, Texas), executed.

7. Frank Abagnale

Frank Abagnale is one of the most famous imposters of all time. He was able to trick and pull a great deal of money from people across the nation. He has assumed 8 identities and garnered a great deal of notoriety before he was even 21. He was caught and placed in prison, but escaped, and began working for the FBI. The story of his life was set to a movie based on his autobiography, “Catch Me If You Can”, which details his identities etc.

Identities and Changes

Frank Abagnale assumed several different identities, even forging a great deal of documents and paperwork that would get him to high level positions in various offices. Perhaps one of the most daring of these included posing as a Pan Am First Officer, with forged transcripts, and much more. He managed to get an entry level job as an attorney, but before he could get caught he resigned.

The Escape

Even though this career criminal was able to fool a lot of people, he was arrested in 1969. He served a one-year sentence in France, and was then released. He was later transported to Sweden, and then to the United States with a sentence to 12 years in prison in the United States. But that’s where the escape began.

In 1971 Frank Abagnale escaped from prison in Atlanta Georgia. He was in prison at the Federal Detention Center in Atlanta, and was mistaken for someone that worked in the prison. He was given privileges, and he used those to start working on a plan to escape. He used his cunning to get a helping hand from a woman that helped him get business cards, and information via a stationery print shop, which helped him prove that he was actually an “Inspector”. After getting privileges, and convincing authorities that he was being sought after by the FBI for assistance in a case, he was picked up from prison, and eventually took a bus to New York, then landing in Washington D.C. allowing him to stay out of prison for some time.


Eventually Frank Abagnale was captured. He was planning on getting to Brazil but was caught by detectives who spotted him passing by in New York City. He did manage to bluff his way through a variety of authorities’ due to his impersonation of an FBI Agent. However, he ended up getting caught due to being recognized by detectives.

8. Andrew Rodger, Keith Rose and Matthew Williams

In one of the most daring prison escapes ever Andrew Rodger, Keith Rose, and Matthew Williams were able to thwart authorities escaping prison before getting stuck. This escaped occurred in 1995, and these three men put a nice plan into action, but were stuck trying to get across the Isle of Wight.

The Escape

Andrew Rodger, Keith Rose, and Matthew Williams were prisoners inside Parkhurst Prison in the UK. This is a maximum-security prison that usually is not easy to escape, and on one fateful night, it was still very difficult to get away, as the three men found out. The men waited for nightfall, and were able to hide out in a gym area. They carved a key to help them get into a storage unit and pull a ladder. The men then positioned the ladder on a wall and literally got out. They crossed the walls but unfortunately, they were stuck without being able to cross the sea that was ahead.

The plan was to steal an airplane from a hangar that was 10 miles away. They were not able to get a plane and were stuck, having to figure out how to manage the Isle of Wight, without food, water, and warm clothing. Eventually, the men were spotted by an off-duty prison employee.
One of the men tried to swim for it, but didn’t get far. The cold waters of the sea caused hypothermia to set in. The other two men were caught after being hunted down by dogs as they ran across some fields. It should be noted that the men had already traveled many miles, without food or water, and by the time authorities found them, they had been extremely exhausted, and had no chance of getting any further.


Even though these three men escaped prison, they did not have the wherewithal to get a plane and were eventually stuck. They were stuck, hungry, and cold, and were caught amidst it all. They were unarmed, they didn’t have any luck after they were able to scale the wall, and they were returned to custody. It should be noted that while one of them tried to swim away, he suffered from hypothermia, and was near death by the time they were able to get him back into custody. The men were highlighted in several different media showcases, and news write ups. They managed to get away initially, but got locked into the area thanks to the weather, and freezing waters of the sea.

9. Steven Jay Russell

Steven Jay Russell escaped prison several times. The first time was in the 1990s, where he walked out of prison. A career criminal, Russell focused on creating fake documents to help him prove he wasn’t who he said he was. He was convicted of fraud in the early 1990s, and eventually was thrown into prison for six months. While serving that time, he took some prison garb and impersonated a corrections officer. That allowed him to walk away without any sort of issue, and that was that. However, that was only his first major prison escape.

The Second Escape

Steven Jay Russell continued to create fraudulent credentials, and even landed a job at a high-end management firm. He embezzled six figures and was put into prison yet again. However, he managed to convince a court clerk that he was the judge and that the bail should be reduced from six figures to five figures. He paid bond and fled the state he was in, going alongside his newly found love interest Phillip Morris.

The Third Escape

Another major change over was interesting, as Steven Jay Russell garnered another prison escape. He impersonated a doctor and walked out of the front gate of the prison. He stole a uniform of scrubs and credentials, and simply walked away. He once again was captured and thrown back into prison with additional years added to his sentence. This wasn’t the last time, however.

The Fourth Escape

To escape one more time, Steven Jay Russell lost a great deal of weight using laxatives. He then garnered paperwork that credited him with having HIV AIDS and that he was going to die relatively soon. In March 1998 he was sent to hospice care, under minimum security. It was there that he decided to get up and simply walk away from the care, and once again head to Florida.


Even though Russell managed to escape prison 4 times, he was captured yet again, and was given a 144 year sentence. He is still in prison at this point, and has been given solitary confinement many times. Due to the nature of his escapes, he is monitored at all times, and is only allowed an hour of time away from the cell for showering and to walk around a bit. He is watched and monitored closely. He is a legendry prison escape artist, that’s for sure.

10. Antonio Ferrara


Antonio Ferrara is one of the most famous criminals from Italy. He is an individual that has been known for robbing, drug trafficking, and even attempted murder. He is also known for his escape from custody, and prison in 2003. He was locked up in France for a year before he escaped in a fashion that would be akin to a movie or novel.

The Escape

March 2003, Ferrara was incarcerated, when early in the morning ten men showed up with hoods and polo shirts heavily armed. They attacked the Fresnes Prison and blew open a hole in the walls. He found himself in perfect area for escape as he refused to follow orders and was placed in a disciplinary holding cell. It was there that he was confined when the attack occurred. Many officers were shot, and explosives were set off, including rocket launchers. He was given explosives in his cell as his compatriots were getting him out, and he used those to blow out the bars and escape to freedom.

Several people were injured, and the ten men that showed up were found. Armored doors, and military style vehicles were involved with the escape, with several more accomplices named and captured in connection with this escape. In fact, authorities list the number of captured in connection with this brazen escape as being 14 total. It took several months to identify and capture all members of this brigade, but they were taken to justice, including Ferrara.


Though Antonio Ferrara escaped prison he didn’t stay out for long. Within a few months law enforcement agents spotted him, with other criminals that had escaped prison in the past. The police were able to figure out who he was despite the fact that he changed his appearance to throw off officials. However, the OCRB and BRB were able to find him, arrest him, and put him back into prison.

Now in prison, he is not allowed to stay in one cell for any length of time. The prison moves him from solitary confined cells to other cells frequently. Due to his intentional disruption of the laws, he was given further sentencing and is monitored heavily to ensure that he doesn’t get out again. The conditions of his detention are that of isolation. He is in Fleury-Merogis Detention House and is guarded at all times. He is in an isolated area where there are only 430 prisoners, and is the most guarded of them all.

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