A Visit To The Old Idaho State Penitentiary

I was able to pack it in on my one-day-weekend yesterday.  Between a mall walk, shopping afterward, and a trip to visit the Old Pen, I logged over 16,000 steps yesterday.

My day started with Starbucks and a walking date at Boise Town Square Mall.  I met up with my friend Kate and we ended up walking/talking for an hour.  We did two laps on both the top and the bottom.  I love walking the mall before it opens.  Once the mall was open I the met Danielle for some shopping.  We had a great time chatting and even found a few new clothing items.

Kenyon worked some overtime until 1pm and then he met Danielle and I for lunch at Olive Garden.  Kenyon has wanted to go out to the Old Penitentiary for some time now as they have a weapons exhibit that interests him.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we have been having really warm temps for this time of year so it was the perfect day for an outing. 


I have not been out to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary for quite some time.  It was an annual fourth grade field trip when I was growing up and my Dad came with me on that visit.  It still smells the same and despite working in the current penitentiary after I graduated college, the Old Pen just had an eerie feeling to it.


It was pretty cool to read the stories of some of the inmates housed at the Old Pen.  They even had a section of juveniles and the crimes they committed.  The Old Penn was built in 1880 and was open for 101 years.  It was in operation from 1872-1973, in which there was even a final execution before it closed.  We were able to walk through many of the old cell blocks, early ones that didn’t have toilets or sinks and the newer cells that had plumbing.  We saw the laundry room, recreation room, and guard stations. 


I couldn’t help but think of how hot it would have been in the summer and how cold it would have been in the winter as the early buildings were all stone.


There were a few areas set up with various displays.  It was a trip down memory lane looking at the homemade tattoo guns.  When I worked at Idaho Maximum Security Institution in 2004 my unit sergeant confiscated a tattoo gun from an inmate’s cell in which we found hidden inside of a radio.  My sergeant noticed that screws on the back of the radio had marks showing they were being opened and closed often.  Sure enough, inside housed the main motor for the gun and all the attachments for completing a prison tattoo.  My sergeant showed us how the gun worked by tattooing a banana that we had kicking around inside the control center room.  Inmates are pretty inventive that is for sure!  


I also took a trip down memory lane when I saw one of the cell blocks was labeled A Block.  When I worked at the prison I usually bid A Block.


When you live in the same city for all of your life as I have, I don’t often get out and about to some of the more touristy stuff.  I am really glad we had this outing.

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