- This article is about prisons overseen by the Order of the White Lotus. For other similar uses, see Prisons (disambiguation).
|"There's certainly no way anyone's breaking out of here."|
|— Desna talking about P'Li's prison.|
The White Lotus prisons are five maximum security facilities scattered throughout the Avatar World, constructed specifically to detain four criminals: Ghazan, Ming-Hua, P'Li, and Zaheer. In order to ensure that the locations were inescapable, they were established in isolated regions and guarded by White Lotus sentries. Each facility was specifically designed to negate the abilities of its respective prisoner and render any escape attempt ineffective.
After Ghazan, Ming-Hua, P'Li, and Zaheer were apprehended by the Order of the White Lotus sometime around 158 AG for attempting to kidnap Avatar Korra, special prisons were constructed in largely uninhabited areas to detain each of the criminals separately. One of these prisons was commissioned by Fire Lord Zuko and Chief Unalaq and built deep within the western tundras bordering the Northern Water Tribe with the sole purpose of containing P'Li. In the thirteen years that followed, the existence of the facilities remained unknown to the majority of the population and the detained individuals were kept isolated from the rest of the world.
Two weeks following Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG, Zaheer used his newfound airbending abilities to immobilize his guards and escape his confinement. He locked the guards in the cell before promptly fleeing the mountaintop prison.
After ambushing a scheduled shift change headed toward Ghazan's prison, Zaheer donned a White Lotus uniform and headed toward the facility on a speedboat undetected before attacking the guards. During the skirmish that followed, Zaheer was able to drop three pieces of earth into Ghazan's wooden cell, allowing him to superheat the material into lava for use in his escape.
Following the defeat of the remaining sentries, the two escaped criminals traveled to Ming-Hua's prison and ambushed the guards on duty. During the altercation, Ghazan threw a barrel of water toward Ming-Hua, which Zaheer split in half, providing her with enough water to create two appendages which she used to open her cell and swiftly incapacitate her guards. Reunited, the three set out toward the Northern Water Tribe in order to free P'Li.
Shortly after, Lord Zuko arrived at Ming-Hua's prison and was informed by a sentry about her escape as well as Zaheer's recent acquirement of airbending. Visibly alarmed by this development, Zuko ordered the sentry to inform Chiefs Desna and Eska about an impending attack on their prison as well as instruct Chief Lin Beifong about safeguarding Avatar Korra in Republic City.
The firebender promptly traveled to the Northern Water Tribe by dragon, where he and Chief Tonraq met up with the Chiefs of the North, Desna and Eska. As the foursome traveled to the prison, Zuko informed the twins about their father's involvement in constructing the facility to detain a special firebender capable of combustion, casually remarking about the time he hired an assassin with similar abilities to kill Avatar Aang. Eska comforted him and recalled the time she attempted to murder Korra for ruining her wedding with Bolin. P'Li greeted the group once they arrived at her cell, asserting that she had not seen any visitors since the beginning of her imprisonment and immediately concluded that the group's arrival was an indication that Zaheer had escaped.
Soon after, the three criminals arrived to P'Li's prison under the cover of a snowstorm. Zaheer and Ghazan engaged Tonraq and Zuko in battle, while Ming-Hua headed toward P'Li's cell under attack from Desna and Eska, who were eventually subdued despite their efforts to stop the waterbender. Ming-Hua used an ice drill to tunnel underground and swiftly defeated the two sentries outside of P'Li's cell before freeing the firebender, whom she carried back to surface. The four promptly fled the scene after Ghazan and P'Li defeated Lord Zuko and Tonraq.
After Zaheer was defeated, he was incarcerated in another prison guarded by the Order of the White Lotus, though this time located in the mountains just outside of Republic City, where he received a visit from Avatar Korra in 174 AG.
Ghazan's prison is an offshore facility in the middle of the ocean. Constructed entirely out of wood, it served as a countermeasure for Ghazan's bending, as the absence of any traces of earth within his immediate vicinity prevents the use of earthbending. The prison is built high above sea level with four large watchtowers located at each end for the sentries to monitor incoming vessels. At the center of the structure is a large wooden cell bearing the White Lotus insignia in which Ghazan was contained, built with a lattice pattern covering the exterior and a small rectangular slit at the bottom for the distribution of food rations. There are no restraints inside the enclosure and there is enough space to move around comfortably, although the top of the cell itself is sealed.
Ming-Hua's prison is a large fortress built directly over a volcano located in a barren region enclosed by mountain-like rock formations. The prison has several levels consisting of metal platforms that run from the top of the volcano downward, providing a clear view of the metal cell suspended near the bottom of the facility. The enclosure is constructed of metal lattice with four golden dragons adorning the corners. The metal cables attached to the cage connect to beams on the topmost platform which also bear golden dragon heads at the tip and converge to a bell tower used primarily to inform sentries of security breaches. The cell's suspension from the ground and its proximity to an active volcano served as a countermeasure for Ming-Hua's bending, as the absence of moisture and nearby sources of water prevents the use of waterbending.
P'Li's prison is an underground containment facility commissioned by Lord Zuko and Chief Unalaq. It is located deep in the western tundras of the North Pole and served as a countermeasure for P'Li's bending, as the intense cold prevents the use of firebending. Two watchtowers situated directly outside the facility monitor approaching civilians and large metal doors bearing the White Lotus insignia prevent immediate access to the interior. Inside the building is a mechanical elevator which transports visitors deep underground to a platform overlooking the cell, which is reached via a metal ramp that automatically extends from underneath the platform. Although she was restrained by chains, the lattice work on her door allowed P'Li to see outside of her cell.
Zaheer's prison is a pagoda-like mountaintop enclosure located in the middle of a remote mountain range. The structure is constructed entirely out of metal and can be accessed and opened solely through the use of metalbending. An adjacent mountain formation with a large metal watchtower serves as the initial access point to the prison, with a mechanical bridge that extends toward the peak in which the cell is situated. Unlike the other three prisoners, Zaheer's enclosure is entirely covered and has very few openings. Prior to receiving his food rations, a series of metal panels outside Zaheer's cell needed to be bent open by one of the sentries, revealing relatively simple bars with a rectangular opening near the bottom for food. Zaheer's prison had no guards stationed directly outside, as they were all stationed in the watchtower located on the adjacent mountain.
After his defeat, Zaheer was taken to a new prison hold, located within the mountains outside Republic City. Originally a temple, the compound was retrofitted by the White Lotus to serve as a maximum security facility. The only access route is by air or the adjacent river and two sentries permanently guard its massive metallic door. Only with the appropriate clearance from the President of the United Republic of Nations will the doors be opened. Zaheer's actual prison cell is situated deep within the belly of the mountain and visitors need to take an elevator down in order to reach it. A large cave separates Zaheer's cell from the elevator and two metalbenders operate the two thick metal doors granting access to the prison hold. The first door gives the visitor access to a small metal room and it is only after they have entered and the first door is closed again that the second one will be opened. The room itself is spacious, illuminated by green crystals, and the airbender is bolted to the floor by heavy metal chains that are shackled to his wrists, ankles, and waist.
- Although these prisons were constructed during the middle of a technological revolution, the idea behind their construction exhibits many similarities to prisons used during the Hundred Year War.
- Ghazan's prison resembles the prison rig used by the Fire Nation military to detain earthbenders who opposed colonial rule, as it was also located offshore to restrict access to earth. It is also similar to wooden cells used in the Fire Nation to hold both waterbenders and earthbenders, such as the jail in Fire Fountain City in which Toph Beifong and Katara were imprisoned.
- Ming-Hua's prison resembles Hama's prison, which was also specifically designed to detain waterbenders. Like the volcanic prison, the facility made use of cells suspended from the ground as well as dry air to prevent access to moisture.
- P'Li's prison resembles the coolers used in the Boiling Rock to discipline firebending prisoners, as it was also an isolation chamber that prevented the use of firebending due to freezing temperatures.