can you tour a prison

Can You Tour a Prison


Have you ever wondered what life is like behind bars? Can you really tour a prison? Yes, you certainly can! Prison tours provide an intriguing glimpse into the realities of the criminal justice system. They offer educational and historical insights, shattering preconceptions and inspiring conversations on prison reform.

The Concept of Prison Tours

The Purpose of Prison Tours

Why would someone want to tour a prison, you might ask? The purpose varies from historical to educational. For historians, it’s about preserving a significant part of societal history. For educators, it’s a chance to immerse students in real-life applications of criminal justice.

Public Perception of Prison Tours

Contrary to what one might think, public opinion on prison tours is generally positive. Many see these tours as a rare opportunity to learn about a part of society that is typically hidden away.

Types of Prison Tours

Historical Prison Tours

Famous Prisons You Can Tour

Historical prison tours offer a trip back in time. Ever heard of Alcatraz or Eastern State Penitentiary? These are some famous prisons that are open for tours. A visit to these places can be an enlightening experience, casting light on historical events and the evolution of penal systems.

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Educational Prison Tours

How Schools and Universities Benefit from Prison Tours

Many schools and universities incorporate prison tours into their curricula. This unique hands-on experience complements textbook knowledge, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the justice system. It’s like getting a front-row seat to legal theory in action!

Preparing for a Prison Tour

What To Expect

Embarking on a prison tour? Be prepared for a sobering experience. You’ll be walking through empty cells, witnessing the stark conditions inmates endure. Some prisons might even stage reenactments, providing a realistic glimpse of prison life.

Safety Measures

Remember, safety is paramount during prison tours. Most prisons that conduct tours are no longer in operation, but rules and regulations are still strictly enforced to ensure a safe experience.

The Impact of Prison Tours

On Society

The effects of prison tours on society are multifaceted. They inspire conversations about justice and reform, highlight historical events, and increase awareness of the realities of incarceration.

On Former Inmates

For former inmates, these tours can sometimes serve as a platform to share their stories, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the justice system.

Controversy Surrounding Prison Tours

Despite their benefits, prison tours are not without controversy. Critics argue that they risk trivializing the harsh realities of prison life. However, others contend that such tours, if conducted responsibly, can foster greater empathy and understanding.


So, can you tour a prison? Absolutely! Prison tours offer valuable insights into a world many never see. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a student of criminal justice, or just a curious individual, a prison tour can provide a unique and enlightening experience.

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1. Are all prisons open for tours?

No, only specific prisons, typically ones no longer in operation, offer tours.

2. Is it safe to tour a prison?

Yes, safety measures are implemented to ensure a safe experience for all visitors.

3. What should I expect to see during a prison tour?

You can expect to see empty cells, guard towers, and often exhibits about the prison’s history.

4. Do I need to book in advance for a prison tour?

Most prisons require advanced booking for tours, but it’s best to check the specific institution’s guidelines.

5. Can children go on prison tours?

Most prisons allow children, but it’s advised to check the age restrictions set by the specific institution.

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