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Here we are visiting the Ohio State Reformatory, also known as the Mansfield Reformatory. This is the site of a historic prison located in Mansfield, Ohio, it is also the location where the movie The Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
Anyone can visit this facility and book one of several tour options, today my friend Motley Kiwi and I have selected the self-guided tour.
Join us as we tour and explore this historic old prison that opened in 1910
The Ohio State Reformatory was constructed between 1886 and 1910. It was designed by architect Levi T. Scofield in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. The reformatory was built to rehabilitate young, non-violent offenders through education and work programs.
The reformatory was intended to provide a more humane approach to corrections by focusing on reforming inmates rather than subjecting them to harsh punishment. It aimed to teach skills, discipline, and moral values to young offenders, giving them a chance to reintegrate into society upon release.
The reformatory officially opened in 1896 and initially housed male prisoners aged 16 to 30. Inmates were provided with vocational training, including woodworking, farming, and various trades. The reformatory implemented a system of strict discipline and hard work to encourage self-improvement.
Over the years, the reformatory witnessed several significant events. One of the most infamous incidents occurred in 1948 when a major riot broke out, resulting in the death of a correctional officer and the injury of many others. The riot marked a turning point in the reformatory’s reputation and led to changes in its administration and practices.
The Ohio State Reformatory closed in 1990 due to court rulings citing inhumane conditions. After its closure, the facility faced an uncertain future. However, thanks to the efforts of preservationists and volunteers, the reformatory was saved from demolition. It gained fame as a filming location for movies, most notably “The Shawshank Redemption,” which helped raise public awareness and support for its preservation.
Today, the Ohio State Reformatory operates as a museum and historic site. Visitors can tour the facility, including the cell blocks, administrative areas, and the chapel. The reformatory is known for its unique architecture and offers insights into the history of the penal system and prison life.
The Ohio State Reformatory has become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors interested in its historical significance, architectural beauty, and its association with popular culture. It stands as a reminder of the criminal justice system’s past and evolution.