Eastern State Penitentiary was an interesting place to tour. For those who are not familiar with it, this facility opened 1829 to house criminals. It was designed to become the model for incarceration. The “Pennsylvania Model” was to house criminals in solitary confinement, with no interaction among inmates allowed. Initially, the jail was created to allow criminals to reform by giving them time to think to be able to tap into what it was like to be good again. Sentences were generally 2 years or less. Some were as long as 8 years. Over time, the emphasis became warehousing, rather than penitence. Over time, it suffered from insufficient funding and overcrowding. It was eventually closed permanently in 1971. It did house some famous criminals, including Al Capone.
It does have the reputation of being haunted. While interested in exploring the supernatural aspects of this building, our tour was in the day time. We also discovered that the evening tours do not occur until the Fall.
Still, it was interesting to see the structure and learn how inmates carried on their lives. They do offer audio-guided tours, but only one that is lead by a tour guide (at 2:00 pm during the weekday). Along with having some areas being restored, a few cells featured interesting art and research on what life was like in jail.
I know that life behind bars is not supposed to be appealing, but I can’t imagine the level of punishment (especially solitary confinement which has data to back up how incredibly detrimental it is) being beneficial to society. The psychic damage done to inmates is probably why it is likely haunted. I did not hear or see anything supernatural, although what they charge for parking ANYWHERE in Philly is definitely scary. The parking lot right next door did charge $8 dollars for up to two hours (which is plenty of time to see everything at Eastern State Penitentiary).