Visits to Prisoners in Eastern State Penitentiary, 1846-1903

face of a prisoner

Visits per year and per prisoner by members of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, 1846-1903, with some per visitor data. Visits to prisoners by moral instructor employed by Eastern State Penitentiary.

While prisoners in Eastern State Penitentiary ideally had no communication with other prisoners or with friends and family on the outside, prisoners did receive visits from officials. Official visits to prisoners were mainly by Eastern State Penitentiary’s moral and secular instructors and by members of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons. A steady stream of distinguished visitors also visited Eastern State Penitentiary and met with prisoners there.

Visits by members of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons at their peak averaged under one visit per prisoner per month. In the mid-nineteenth century,l a Philadelphia Society member on a given visit typically met with ten prisoners. Hence time spent per prisoner per visit was probably under twenty minutes.

Eastern State’s moral instructor in the mid-nineteenth century average about one visit per prisoner per month. These visits averaged about a half hour in length.

Dataset sheets:

  • visiting: Philadelphia Society members’ visits and visits per prisoner by year, 1846-48, 1886-1903
  • visitors: trips to the prison and prisoners visited for some named Philadephia Society visitors
  • moral instructor: visits to prisoners per day for various years, 1839-1898

Related datasets:

Leave a comment (will be included in public domain license)

Your email address will not be published.