Things You Didn't Know About Azkaban If You've Only Seen The 'Harry Potter' Movies
The Harry Potter series portrays the flaws in the justice system of the Wizarding World through Azkaban prison. Guarded by the feared Dementors, the inhumane practices surrounding the prison go to show that Lord Voldemort isn't the only threat out there. The Ministry of Magic's illicit practices through Azkaban aren't very detailed in the films and there's a lot more information to be found within the novels.
In addition, the backstory of the characters that were sent to Azkaban and the reasons a wizard can be incarcerated at the prison are better understood through book canon. It's interesting to learn more about this because it makes Azkaban look as terrifying as it's supposed to be.
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Barty Crouch Sr. Sentenced People To Azkaban Without TrialsPhoto: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros. Pictures
A number of inmates in Azkaban aren't actually guilty of the crimes they've committed - they never got to prove their innocence because Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Barty Crouch Sr. never gave them a trial.
Crouch's brutal sense of justice made him as bad as the Death Eaters and he resorted to sending people to Azkaban based on circumstantial evidence. Sirius Black was never taken to court because Crouch authorized him to be moved to Azkaban the day he was caught and framed for the crime that Peter Pettigrew committed.
Much like Sirius, Azkaban saw a record number of inmates during the First Wizarding War, with a lot of them incarcerated just so that the Ministry could show they were doing something.
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Sirius Black Is The Only Inmate Who Never Lost His Senses In AzkabanPhoto: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures
It's essentially a given that a person sentenced to Azkaban will end up losing their mind due to the presence of the Dementors. Even those who are in Azkaban for a short time began to lose their senses - Hagrid reveals he was praying he would pass away in his sleep rather than wake up to the Dementors again.
Characters like Barty Crouch Jr. and Bellatrix Lestrange became unhinged and dangerous, to the point where they found inflicting pain to be a gleeful prospect. Sirius Black is an exception, as he never lost his core personality.
Sirius retained his mind despite his 12-year stay at Azkaban by reminding himself of his innocence. He explained to Harry that Dementors feed on any emotion a person has but since the knowledge of his innocence wasn't a feeling, they couldn't take it away from him and Sirius remained sane.
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Sirius Black Deduced Scabbers' Identity As Peter Pettigrew When Cornelius Fudge Visited AzkabanPhoto: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures
Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban was preceded by a visit by Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge to the prison. Fudge was shocked to find Sirius of sound mind and handed the latter his copy of the Daily Prophet when Sirius asked.
In reality, Sirius had noticed a picture of the Weasley family on their vacation in Egypt - he instantly recognized Ron's pet Scabbers as the Animagus form of Peter Pettigrew.
The Minister for Magic only visits Azkaban on occasion to be in communication with the Dementors, which makes the timing of the Daily Prophet's edition and Fudge coming across Sirius a sheer stroke of luck.
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High-Security Prisoners Are Kept Deeper In Azkaban's WallsPhoto: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures
Azkaban has a tiered system based on the danger level an inmate has qualified for before they were caught. People like Hagrid, who was only sent to Azkaban to be kept away from Hogwarts, are locked up near the entrance to Azkaban.
High-security prisoners like Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr. are incarcerated deep inside Azkaban. This is proven when Sirius reveals in Goblet of Fire that he saw Crouch being brought into the prison - Bellatrix was kept so much farther inside that Dementors let her out themselves when they aligned with Voldemort.
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It's Not Possible To Apparate Into Or Out Of AzkabanPhoto: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures
The film version of Order of the Phoenix makes it seem as if anyone can just apparate into Azkaban and free the prisoners; however, it's not possible to use this form of travel to get to the fortress.
Azkaban inmates are transported to the prison by an Auror through flight travel like the use of Thestral-pulled carriages. The Floo network also appears to be an option, as seen when Cornelius Fudge arrives at the Muggle Prime Minister's office from Azkaban through this means in Half-Blood Prince.
It's implied that the same anti-apparation jinx that Hogwarts has in use is in effect at Azkaban as well.
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Unregistered Animagi Are Sent To AzkabanPhoto: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros. Pictures
People who intend to become Animagi have to first have themselves registered at the Ministry of Magic. The reason for the law is the fact that anyone could take advantage of their animal form to dupe the authorities, which unregistered Animagi like Rita Skeeter, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black do get around to.
Wizards are discouraged from becoming unregistered Animagi by the threat of possible incarceration at Azkaban. There are no exceptions once a person has been caught and they will be sent straight to the prison if their unregistered status is proven.
Rita Skeeter is blackmailed by Hermione after the latter learns she's an unregistered Animagus and Rita has to listen to Hermione's demands under threat of being sent to Azkaban.