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Folsom State Prison: History, Facts, and Controversies

Folsom State Prison is one of the oldest and most notorious prisons in California, known for its harsh living conditions and notorious inmates. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of Folsom State Prison, its current state, controversies, and future.

Plan Your Visit

Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System (VPASS)

If you wish to visit an inmate at Folsom State Prison, you must navigate the Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System (VPASS). This digital platform requires you to create an online account and offers the convenience of scheduling your visit from the comfort of your home.

Holiday Visits

Folsom State Prison extends visitation hours on several major holidays, including New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. This thoughtful gesture allows families to connect with their loved ones during special occasions.

Contact Information

Physical Address:

Folsom State Prison 300 Prison Road Represa, CA 95671

Telephone:

(916) 985-2561

Inmate Mailing Address:

Inmate Name, ID Folsom State Prison P.O. Box 715071 Represa, CA 95671

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1. Introduction

Folsom State Prison is located in Folsom, California, about 20 miles east of Sacramento. It was first opened in 1880 as a maximum-security prison, designed to hold some of the state’s most dangerous and violent criminals. Over the years, Folsom State Prison has become notorious for its harsh living conditions, overcrowding, and high-profile inmates.

2. Folsom State Prison History

Folsom State Prison has a long and storied history. It was first opened in 1880 and was designed to replace California’s first maximum-security prison, San Quentin. The prison was built using granite quarried on-site by inmates and was intended to be a model of modern prison design.

Over the years, Folsom State Prison has been home to some of California’s most notorious criminals, including Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, and Black Panther Party founder Eldridge Cleaver. It has also been the site of many executions, both by hanging and lethal injection.

3. Folsom State Prison Facts

Here are some quick facts about Folsom State Prison:

  • The prison covers 1,630 acres and has a capacity of 2,469 inmates
  • It is divided into two facilities: the main prison and the minimum-security facility, Folsom Women’s Facility
  • The prison has been the subject of several books and movies, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”
  • Folsom State Prison is home to one of the largest solar power systems in the United States, generating up to 30% of the prison’s electricity needs

4. Folsom State Prison Controversies

Folsom State Prison has been at the center of several controversies over the years. Here are some of the most notable ones:

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4.1 Prison Conditions

Folsom State Prison has been criticized for its harsh living conditions, including overcrowding, limited access to medical care, and inadequate mental health services. Inmates have reported instances of abuse and neglect, and the prison has been sued several times over its treatment of prisoners.

4.2 Death Penalty

Folsom State Prison has been the site of many executions over the years, both by hanging and lethal injection. The use of the death penalty has been a controversial issue in California, and many have argued that it is an ineffective and inhumane form of punishment.

4.3 Riot of 1982

In 1982, Folsom State Prison was the site of a major riot that lasted for several hours and resulted in the deaths of three inmates and one correctional officer. The riot was sparked by a disagreement between two inmates and quickly escalated into a violent confrontation involving hundreds of prisoners.

4.4 Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”

One of the most famous cultural references to Folsom State Prison is the song “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. The song was recorded live at Folsom State Prison in 1968 and became a hit, bringing the prison into the public consciousness. Many people credit the song with helping to humanize inmates and shed light on the harsh living conditions of prisons.

5. Folsom State Prison Today

Today, Folsom State Prison is still in operation, although it has undergone significant changes over the years. The prison now offers a variety of rehabilitation programs and services designed to help inmates prepare for life after their release. These programs include vocational training, education, and counseling services.

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6. Rehabilitation Programs

Folsom State Prison offers a range of rehabilitation programs designed to help inmates prepare for life after their release. These programs include vocational training in fields like auto mechanics, construction, and computer programming. The prison also offers education programs, including high school and college courses, as well as counseling and therapy services.

7. Future of Folsom State Prison

The future of Folsom State Prison is uncertain. Some advocates argue that the prison should be closed or repurposed, citing its history of harsh living conditions and human rights abuses. Others believe that the prison still serves an important role in California’s justice system and that its programs and services should be expanded.

8. Conclusion

Folsom State Prison has a long and storied history, marked by controversy and hardship. While the prison has undergone significant changes in recent years, its legacy continues to shape public perception of the criminal justice system. As we look to the future, it’s important to consider the role of prisons in society and work to create a more just and equitable system.

9. FAQs

  1. What is the capacity of Folsom State Prison?
  • The prison has a capacity of 2,469 inmates.
  1. Who are some of the most famous inmates of Folsom State Prison?
  • Some notable inmates include Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, and Black Panther Party founder Eldridge Cleaver.
  1. What rehabilitation programs are offered at Folsom State Prison?
  • Folsom State Prison offers vocational training, education, and counseling services.
  1. Has Folsom State Prison been the site of many executions?
  • Yes, Folsom State Prison has been the site of many executions, both by hanging and lethal injection.
  1. What sparked the riot of 1982 at Folsom State Prison?
  • The riot was sparked by a disagreement between two inmates and quickly escalated into a violent confrontation involving hundreds of prisoners.

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