The Eastern State Penitentiaryis a former American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was operational from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasised principles of reform rather than punishment.Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. James Bruno (Big Joe) and several male relatives were incarcerated here between 1936-1948 for the alleged murders in the Kelayres Massacre of 1934, before they were pardoned.At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.

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Cell Block

The cell doors you see are a later addition, Originally there was simply a small food slot. The prisoners entered, hooded via a small door that opened onto the courtyard. Once in, you were in. Silence was the order of the day. The guards wore socks to avoid footsteps


Apart from works needed to make the place safe, its been left pretty much as the trust took it over.

Barn door?

behind this sliding door would have been a more substantial cast iron cell door.

Double up

This wing was a later addition, it was much the same layout but had two floors.

Upper floor

I guess even in prison you'd want to be on the top floor


As previously stated, it was all just left as it was the day they shipped out

Making safe...

one of the few areas not open to the general public

Mops and Mop handles

Looking for all the world like they'd just been put away at the end of a shift

Kitchen block

This door led to a part of the canteen area. The staff ran tours of the more decayed areas.


This shot illustrates just how decayed the structures were. It was incredible the access granted to visitors!


You can see the range's hood through these doors.


The doors lead to the kitchen, the gates to the exercise yard and goods entrance


This shots shows the exterior where two of the "spokes" met at the central hub

New Block

On the right part of the original structure, on the left a later addition

Medical Wing

The prison had a state of the art medical facility and was often visited by Dr's learning new techniques

Operatng room

The square tiles on the ceiling are glass and originally allowed visitors to watch what was going on.

Lamp detail

One famous inmate and patient was none other than Mr Alfonse Capone!


Just visible in the distance is the central hub

More decay...

You really wouldn't be allowed in this room here in the UK!


Contents unknown and long rotted away

A cell...

Looking in through the door. This was in a wing added later, we know this because there is no blocked up door to the courtyard