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Open Positions: Returning Citizen Tour Guides at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site (ESPHS) seeks outgoing, engaging, and creative Returning Citizens to staff the third year of an innovative and award-winning guided tour program. The goals of this tour program are to increase empathy in the historic site’s visitors and humanize the issues surrounding mass incarceration by bringing formerly incarcerated people directly in conversation with historic site visitors.

Returning Citizen Tour Guides are responsible for leading ten minute, behind the scenes tours for a broad audience; this may often involve discussing personal experience with incarceration. Most visitors to ESPHS do not have personal experience with the criminal justice system, and are tourists to Philadelphia. These tours provide an opportunity for people who want to tell their story in an effort to deepen the conversation about criminal justice in the United States.

You are a great fit for this job if you are:

  • Previously incarcerated (released within the past five years).

  • A clear, confident, thoughtful, and open public speaker with the desire to speak with the public about personal experiences, including your connection to incarceration.

  • Willing to discuss politically and culturally sensitive subject matter (ie: prison, crime, and race) in a way that fosters space for diverse opinions that may differ from your own.

  • Natural at leading conversations and making people feel comfortable.

  • Willing to take direction and coaching.

  • Willing and able to learn detailed information about history, public policy, and architecture.

  • Someone who has successfully completed a specialized program, for example – a re-entry program, vocational training, or educational program.

  • Flexible and adapt quickly.

  • Exceptional in providing customer service.

  • Work well on your own, but also enjoy teamwork and collaboration.

  • Willing to work outdoors in all types of weather.

Hours, salary and benefits:

Employment is temporary and part-time. Positions begin in June 2018 and end in November 2018. Returning Citizen Tour Guides will receive extensive training at a rate of $12.00/hour. After a performance review, the pay rate increases to $13.00/hour, and Returning Citizen Tour Guides will typically work three days per week (20 hours), some weekend work required.

To Apply:

Please send a resume and cover letter to Lauren Zalut, Director of Education and Tour Programs at In your cover letter please tell us how you heard about the position, why you want to share your story with the general public, and list any programs you have completed in the past - for example a re-entry program, vocational training, or educational program. The deadline for applications is May 18, 2018. No phone calls please.

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability or handicap, sex, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, arrest record or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. Our management team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities and general treatment during employment.

About ESPHS:

When Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world. The first prison of its kind – a penitentiary – it was designed to inspire true regret in the hearts of its inhabitants. The building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House, and attracted visitors from around the globe. Although the prison now stands in ruin, its story remains relevant today. When Eastern State Penitentiary opened as a historic site in 1994, it attracted just over 10,000 daytime visitors – in 2017 it was visited by more than 270,000. The site’s staff and programming continue to grow by inviting the public into new spaces, mounting original exhibits and artist installations, and engaging visitors in conversations about the history and legacy of the building. ESPHS is open every day, year-round from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information please visit

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