Date posted: 07/31/2013
Get a Look Inside Prison at the Folsom Prison Museum
Folsom State Prison is located in the city of Folsom, California. Opening in 1880, Folsom was one of the nation’s first maximum security prisons, and the first in the country to have electricity. Folsom witnessed the execution of 93 condemned prisoners over a 42-year period. The museum is located just next door to the prison, which is still in use today. Entry to the Museum is only $2, a small fee to pay with such a wealth of history to see.
A visit to Folsom Prison Museum will serve as a reminder of why crime doesn't pay. The inmates lived in 8’ by 4’ cells with no heating or plumbing. Until 1912 corporal punishment was used to control the inmates, which varied from the use of straight jackets to tying up prisoners by their thumbs and hands, which may seem cruel in today’s society but which was the norm for convicted criminals at the time.
Run by retired prison guards, the eye opening exhibitions vary from a collection of makeshift knives to an automated prisoner describing his cell. There is even a display of contraband smuggled into the prison from days gone by. You will also find numerous displays that show the creative side of the prisoners at Folsom Prison. The inmates must have had ample time to fill, as a noose made from toilet paper, a knife made from melted down plastic razors, a spear made of newspaper, a gun made of scrap metal and a ferris wheel made from ¼ million toothpicks are just a few of the artifacts on display.
Folsom State Prison is possibly best known for two concerts performed at the facility by musician Johnny Cash in the late 1960s, an event which the Prison Museum is proud to display in stark contrast to the many harrowing artifacts of a life behind bars. Johnny Cash CDs and memorabilia may be a welcome distraction from the hardships of life in a maximum security prison in the early 1900s.
If you will being staying at one of the hotels near Folsom Prison Museum, be sure to stop by and check out the exhibits. There are ample photo opportunities, and the guides are more than happy to take group photographs outside the prison itself, and also allow photography inside the museum. While access to the prison itself is not permitted, the museum tour includes a video of the inside of the prison today, which the guards remind visitors they can gain access to should they choose to turn to a life of crime. But judging from the displays, a life of freedom would be much preferred.
For more information on Folsom Prison Museum, please click here.