The Eastern State Penitentiary is a former American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Operational from 1829 until 1971, the penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.
Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
During the abandoned era (from closing until the late 80s) a “forest” grew in the cell blocks and outside within the walls. The prison also became home to many stray cats.
The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is open to the public as a museum for tours.
Photographed April 2016.