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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Take Your Son To Prison Day

Yesterday was the trip to Moundsville Penetentiary - it's far from us, about 100 miles but as you can see from the pictures, was worth the trip. David went with us so we took turns with the driving. The prison was built in 1866, one of the oldest in the country so the old parts are very cool. The original prison was built by the inmates themselves and in the newer parts, there's artwork all over the walls - all painted by murderers and rapists.  Jackson and Becky really enjoyed the whole thing, usually neither of them will say boo in public, but the two of them were asking all sorts of questions and volunteering to try out the equipment. The guide was a former guard of the prison (it closed it's doors in 1996 due to the supreme court deciding the 5 x 7 cells were inhumane, but really - considering the people they housed weren't too concerned with human rights, it's just not understandable). The cell that I took pictures of Jackson in at one time had 3 to a cell which I can't imagine. They had a display room with all the homemade weapons, a letter from Charles Manson asking to be transferred there (he grew up about 8 miles from the prison) and the electric chair which was used only 9 times. They hung them right up to the 1950's - I think there were 94 hangings and did you know that the gallows are exactly 13 feet high? One foot for the judge and one for each juror. It was a good trip because not only was it right up Jackson's alley but it was very historic. The only thing that was not good was the weather which was very cold, damp and rainy - being in a prison  constructed soley of metal and stone was not the warmest place to be. They stop running the tours in November due to that - the guide said some tour groups have tried to tour in January but they rarely make it through more than half as the only thing that's heated is the lobby where you start the tour and the display room where you end. After we went to Young's Homesyle Cafeteria where we saw everyone from the tour there, the food was pretty good and then we headed home. Even though it was a long drive, I was very glad we went.

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