5 Crazy U.S. Prisons You Can Visit (Without An Orange Jumpsuit)
by Alanna Smith
Content Quality Editor
That's right, mateys: Orange Is The New Black is back! Season 5 of Netflix's hit show has been highly anticipated since last year's devastating season finale, so we can understand if you're busy bingeing. But if you feel like taking a five-minute break between episodes, check out this list of some of the coolest & craziest prisons you can actually visit in the United States—no jail sentence needed.
San Francisco, California
Easily the most famous prison in the world, Alcatraz closed its doors to prisoners in 1963 after hosting such infamous names as Al Capone and Whitey Bulger. Visitors can now hop on a ferry near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco in order to set foot on “the Rock.”
2. Eastern State Penitentiary
Operations may have ceased in 1971, but Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is as popular as ever. Visitors flock to the prison’s eerie decaying halls to take part in tours that operate all year round. The Penitentiary is a regular “guest” on ghost-hunting TV shows, and it even appeared in, of all things, one of the Transformers films.
The building is also home to several contemporary art exhibits and an annual Halloween haunted house, which may be one of the most terrifying and brilliant ideas around.
3. Ohio State Reformatory
If you’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption, you’ve seen Ohio State Reformatory. The film was released just 4 years after the prison officially closed its doors. Film buffs can experience “the Shawshank Trail,” a self-guided tour* organized by the society responsible for restoring the prison.
4. Yuma Territorial Prison
With rough stone walls, outdoor cells, and cast-iron gates, Yuma looks like it would be right at home in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie (in other words, we approve). The prison closed all the way back in 1909, but it has remained a strong presence in westerns since then, like in the 1957 film 3:10 to Yuma (and its 2007 remake starring Russell Crowe).
5. Liberty Hotel
It may be a 5-star hotel now, but these luxurious rooms were decidedly non-luxe jail cells once upon a time. Opened in 1851, the Charles Street Jail hosted many famous prisoners, like James Michael Curley and Malcom X, before closing in 1973.
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