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Bēhance

  • Behind the Walls

  • The Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 has been abandoned since 1970. Built to apply the Pennsylvania System of imprisonment, it served as a model for numerous other prisons throughout the world. Although of limited influence in the United States, the prison and the Pennsylvania System influenced, and continues to influence, penalogical practices in Europe, Asia, and Latin Americia.

    The Penitentiary was intended not to simply punish, but to move the criminal toward spiritual reflection and change. Cells were made of concrete with a single glass skylight, representing the “Eye of God”, hinting to the prisoners that God was always watching them. Built on Mormon principles, the authorities believed that prisoners were innately good, that their environment had corrupted them.