World's First True Penitentiary: Eastern State Penitentiary Sets World Record


World Record Academy | May 2022


PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, United States--The Eastern State Penitentiary, also known as ESP, a former American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, which was operational from 1829 until 1971, refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment, thus setting the world record for being the World's First True Penitentiary, according to the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY.


The World's First True Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue between Corinthian Avenue and North 22nd Street in the Fairmount section of the city, and was operational from 1829 until 1971.


At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.


Designed by John Haviland and opened on October 25, 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary. Eastern State's revolutionary system of incarceration, dubbed the "Pennsylvania system" or separate system, encouraged separate confinement as a form of rehabilitation. The warden was legally required to visit every inmate every day, and the overseers were mandated to see each inmate three times a day.


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