Prison is something we have heard since when we were young where is for people who do something wrong or break the law, then they have to stay there. However, we still cannot believe how those people live in prison and what the activity they have to do because it might be just a myth or rumor. We never know what it was like in there. In addition, each prison has a different style to deal with prisoners so the way they live and their activity might be a little bit different from each prison. Have you ever curious about the story of the prison? There is a lot of prison in every country but there are some historical prisons in America that I have been visited and I, personally interested and fascinated, would like to share.

The prison in America

There is a lot of prison in America some of them might be historical prison, some might be the oldest, and some might be the cruelest prison but their story is all interesting. In the past, the prison in America had a system that put many people in the same room both male and female, and other systems isolated systems and silent systems. Silent or auburn or New York system is the same thing and the same purpose was used at Auburn prison in Auburn, N.Y. Now, some of the prisons might get old and or being historic jails and have opened as museums for tourists to visit and know about the story of that prison. I have had the opportunity to visit some prison in America and I am really into it. Also, I find these prisons are very interesting to share: Eastern State Penitentiary and Alcatraz.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Before I went to America as an exchange student I have watched one video which content is about Eastern State Penitentiary and this content produce by Rubsarb production channel on YouTube since then I always want to visit once in my life. Finally, I have a chance to visit it. Eastern State Penitentiary was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This prison is America’s most historic prison and the most expensive prison in the world. In the old days, people called this prison a cheery hill because in the past it was a cherry farm before they were building the prison. Eastern State Penitentiary has been used for 142 years. This prison has been activated in 1829 but it was completed in 1836 and the first prisoner was Charles William. This prison is different from normal prison in those days.  This prison uses the isolated, separate, Pennsylvania system to govern the prison system. There are 2 eras. The first is isolated, the latter is normal which changes from one room per person to one room for 5 people because many people go to jail and there is no money to build and enough area to build so the zone created later has 2-floor building— because of too many prisoners.

The second era officially changed the prison system in 1913.  John Haviland, who was an architect, aim was to put the fear in the hearts of those who are committing a crime. The prisoner had blindfolded from since the first step that comes to this prison until going to the room they have done this for their first day of entry and the last day that they leave.  There is no way to know where they are or which part of prison they were staying in. There are all soundproof wall and the guard was also walking and wearing socks and didn’t tell when it would be checked so it there really quite there. The cell is a single cell which means one person for one room and there is a private exercise area behind it. That cell has all the facilities. In each room, there is a window on a small ceiling called the Eye of God. The only place where sunlight can be seen. The entrance to the room was built lower than usual because the architect intended to conceal that entry into this jail your dignity would be reduced. Most people in this prison are mentally ill including over masturbation because he could not speak to anyone, not even himself.

In the first era, the prisoner is not allowed to visit. In the year 1870, they began to remove private exercise and then build more cells. They have an exercise yard together and eat together. They also start education which teaches art and sells goods outside of the prison to raise money to develop prison. Willie Sutton tried to escape many times but unsuccessful because he thought that escaping alone would not work. Therefore, he finds more participation in case of escape and the total number was 12 people. People have named the gang as dirty dozen. He escaped by digging a hole. Clarence Klinedinst was a professional plastered so they asked him to fix it at block 68, so he tries to dig it and it turns out that this wall is able to dig. It took 11 months for digging before finish it there was a plan to escape at noon by crawl out. They are all can escape but Willie Sutton got caught after 3 minutes after escaping, Clarence left for 2 hours., James Grace escaped for 8 days, and the last one was Frederick Tenuto got caught after escape for 2 months. However, this gang doesn’t end there.  In 1946, after escaping for the one year, they were transfer to the Holmesburh prison, which was a trial that could not escape but this gang who was 5 of the member in dirty dozen and a new member can break out. Sutton escaped for 5-6 years and Frederick could not be caught still in the wanted list. There is also a prisoner dog named pep the dog, the first and only animal in this prison. Also, there are female prisoners too but not for long because the female prisoners here were raped by the guard. Almost 50 years ago before the prison closed, there were no female prisoners. The punishment here is a lot such as Cellblock 13 or the hole for separating prisoners and Cellblock 14 which is smaller than 13 but much more torture they are punished for the same purpose but going completely different. Famous people like Al Capone also here too but he lives there very comfortably anybody is allowed to visit him and he can make a call anytime. He was here for 8 months. There is one and the only person who can escape and never get caught until now his name is Leo Callahan. The prison was closed in 1971 because they estimated the price to renovate the prison is much higher than the reconstruction.

This museum does not only have a story or exhibition for the prisoner but also for the victim. The first season of Prison break was inspired by dirty dozen here in Eastern State Penitentiary you can check it out on Netflix


Alcatraz is another prison that is the cruelest in America. This place also has some difficulties in living their life. At first, the island was named La Isla de los Alcatraces the explorers concluded that the island was not suitable for people to live because it was very dry. This prison was launched in 1861 in San Francisco. It was diagnosed that this island was difficult to escape because it located in the middle of a natural bay with strong wind-waves and freezing temperatures. This prison is also known as the rock. In 1898, this prison was imprisoned only for political prisoners but then an earthquake caused a lot of damage, causing the prisoners to be moved. After that, a new 3-floor building was built.

In 1934, the prison was appointed to be the federal bureau of prison. This prison is the most strict prison in the world. Al Capone used to be here as well. This prison has none female prisoner and this is also a single cell that means over a person for one room. However, there are 3 prisoner missing causes the police to search but cannot find it. Therefore, they assume that those may die from swimming across the island. On the other hand, there is also another presumption saying that at first, it was four people who had moved to this prison including Frank Morris, Allen West, John and Clarence Anglin. In 1961, four of them come up with a prison breakout plan that received the hands of Clarence Carnes who was prisoners that have been here for a long time. Clarence has been using a spoon for expanding vents to escape he thought of building a satin to be a vehicle to go to San Francisco. At that time, the system of the prison was not that strict so they made a mask of their face for pretending to be lying on the bed to help them escape. They fled on the 11th of June 1962 but there was a mistake because Allen West did not come as they are planning so they proceeded. The three of them were able to escape without being caught but the next morning the guard knew that there was a jailbreak. They can escape until now. People are still wondering if they survived or not.

This prison was closed like Eastern State Penitentiary by the same problem that they face which is money. Alcatraz also opens as a museum for tourist.

There are some movie that uses this prison as inspiration such as The rock and Escapes from Alcatraz.

These are just some of the prison that also a tourist attraction or museum that you guys should visit once in your life because there are all full of history and story that very interesting and amazed. We never know what is really behind the wall until you have proved it yourself. You can start to know their story by watching the video or some movie that based on that prison and then you will really into it and really want to visit there. Therefore, during COVID-19 quarantine you can watch and find more information about that story, that prisoner, and their plan for escape. Go for it this might open your perspective about the prison and world or your thought.