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Prison Kingpins Who Made the System Work for Them

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The idea of a criminal kingpin is a scary thought. To think there are people out there that sit atop mighty illegal empires and rule everything with an iron fist seems absurd, as though such a thing could only exist on television or in a movie. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Some of the richest people in history have been criminal kingpins running everything from drugs to arms to human beings. In some cases, their power was so tremendous, they ruled their empires from behind bars. Not even prison could keep these tyrants from their thrones.

The only thing more frightening than a kingpin is a prison kingpin, because there's nothing else you can really do to them. 

This list includes some of the most notorious prison kingpins of all time, as well as some powerful prisoners who thrived in jail. Some of them you've probably heard of, others you haven't, but one thing all these people have in common is their amazing ability to work the prison system in their favor. These are criminals who thrived in prison. 

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