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Eastern State Penitentiary

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The Eastern State Penitentiary, built in 1829 outside of Philadelphia, was the world's first true penitentiary; it emphasized reform rather than punishment. The idea came from Dr. Benjamin Rush, who founded the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, the first prison reform group in the world. Benjamin Franklin joined the group in 1787.

Most eighteenth century prisons were simply large holding pens. Groups of adults and children, men and women, and petty thieves and murderers, sorted out their own affairs behind locked doors. Physical punishment and mutilation were common, as was abuse of the prisoners by the guards and overseers.

At the time, many leaders believed that crime was the result of environment, and that solitude will make the criminal regretful and penitent. The proponents of the system believed strongly that the criminals, exposed - in silence - to thoughts of their behavior and the ugliness of their crimes, would become genuinely penitent. Thus the new word, penitentiary.

This correctional theory, as practiced in Philadelphia, became known as the Pennsylvania System and was adopted by more than 300 prisons worldwide.

Closed since 1971, it is now a National Historic Landmark.


For additional information: http://www.easternstate.org/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_State_Penitentiary
Hallway
Hallway
Cell 901
Cell 901
Cell
Cell
View of the tower
View of the tower
Exterior
Exterior
Bed frame
Bed frame
Cell
Cell
Radiator
Radiator
Solitary Exercise Yard
Solitary Exercise Yard
Cell
Cell
Outside
Outside
Cell
Cell
Cabinet
Cabinet
Long corridor
Long corridor
Outside
Outside
Cell
Cell
Above the entrance
Above the entrance
Al Capone's cell
Al Capone's cell
Rusted panel
Rusted panel
Cell
Cell
Outside the kitchen
Outside the kitchen
One of the wings
One of the wings
Decaying Wall
Decaying Wall
Corner watch tower
Corner watch tower
Cell 460
Cell 460
Plumbing
Plumbing
Cell
Cell
Fireplug
Fireplug
Outside
Outside
Cell No 6
Cell No 6
Outside
Outside
Electric Box
Electric Box
One of the hallways
One of the hallways