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Carson City, Nevada

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Why Have Old Prisons Become Tourist Attractions?


Is it because people have a morbid curiosity about the dark side of human nature and want to enter a place that is usually restricted to prisoners and staff? Or is it because states see old prisons as a historical/museum site that can be of economic value to them? I believe both reasons are important drivers.


I hope that when tourists visit famous prisons like -Alcatraz, Sing Sing, Eastern State Penitentiary, Yuma Territorial Prison, Ohio State Reformatory, etc. they become more curious about incarceration in the United States and start to ask questions.

Why do we incarcerate more people per capita then any other country in the world? Why are we one of the few countries that still execute prisoners? Why do we have such a high recidivism rate? What programs work to reduce inmates from coming back to prison? Are there more effective ways to keep society safe then putting people in prison?


Old prisons that become tourist attractions or museum/historical sites can chose to play on people’s morbid curiosity, but why not inspire them to ask some questions that need to be asked as well?

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