Old Idaho State Penitentiary — Photos

I took a break today from shooting social justice issues to visit the Old Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise. I’d been hearing about it since I got here and figured I’d need to check it out.

There’s just a very few of the photos I got that are in this entry; to see the rest in the gallery on my website, click here.

Sally Port.

The Sally Port was used in getting vehicles into — and out of — the prison interior without allowing any inmates the chance to escape.

Guard tower

The prison has four guard towers.  With one on each corner, the guards had a clear shot at anyone that dared to enter “no man’s land”.

Food door in solitary confinement

This is the little door within a door through which an inmate in solitary confinement was passed his bread and water.

Inside solitary confinement cell looking out

This is the same solitary confinement cell — except looking outwards from the inside.  A cramped spot!

Cell block 2

Some of the cell blocks have 3 and even four “tiers” of cells.  This cell block is an older one and just has two tiers.

Building straight ahead was the original cell block built in 1870. It was later converted into a chow hall and was burned in the 1973 riot.

A riot in 1973 closed the prison and destroyed several of the original buildings.  All that remains of the ones that went up in flames during the riot are just the walls.

A condemned man’s cell on death row.

Death row inmates were allowed a little more luxuries in their cell.  Altogether there were 10 men that were executed by hanging.  The first gallows was in the area where the rose garden is today and the other was inside a two story building — just steps from death row.

As the condemned man was led to the gallows, the windows on the upper right were his last glimpse of daylight.

Fifteen steps was all it took to get from the condemned man’s cell to this door that opens into…

When the condemned went through the door, this is what he saw. The hangman’s noose, trapdoor and lever to release the trapdoor.

…the gallows.

Took big keys to turn big locks in the big house

To see the rest of the photos of my visit to the Old Territorial Prison in Boise, Idaho, click here.

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