New York, a city full of history, culture, and excitement, also has a hidden side—the forgotten remnants that are not easily visible to the public. Located on the outskirts of the city, there is an abandoned prison that has been neglected for many decades. The walls of this place hold a timeless presence, resonating with the echoes of history. Come and join us as we explore this intriguing and captivating place, immersing ourselves in the experience of being a prisoner within New York’s abandoned correctional facility.
A Brief History of the Prison
We will be discussing the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, which is located on Staten Island. It was built in 1976 and is a medium-security prison for male inmates. The facility has a capacity of 931 beds. Originally designed for individuals convicted of non-violent crimes such as drug dealing, burglary, and fraud, the prison became known for its reputation of being relatively peaceful and well-managed. Some of the notable features of the place are a well-stocked library, a fully-equipped gym, a beautiful chapel, and a vocational training center.
In spite of its calm atmosphere, the prison encountered various difficulties and controversies. In 1996, a violent inmate riot broke out, causing widespread destruction, arson, and the taking of hostages. Despite being suppressed by state police with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, the incident had lasting effects. In 2011, the state government made the decision to close the prison as part of cost-cutting measures. Efforts to sell the facility were unsuccessful, resulting in its abandonment and neglect.
Discovering the Abandoned Prison
With the necessary authorization, we cautiously entered the prison through a gap in the fence, encountering a strangely still and eerie sight. There were personal belongings, official documents, and equipment that remained undisturbed. The prison appeared to be stuck in a different time, with its collection of clothes, books, magazines, records, reports, and memos. Graffiti and posters showcased the vibrant life and rich culture of the past.
We thoroughly explored every corner, including cells, offices, cafeteria, infirmary, workshops, and recreation areas. Feelings ranged from curiosity, sadness, awe, to fear. The walls appeared to hold countless stories and secrets, while the objects seemed to convey memories and emotions through their whispers. We aimed to understand the experience of residing and working in this restricted, regulated, secluded, and overlooked location.
Contemplating the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility
The Arthur Kill Correctional Facility stands out as a unique and thought-provoking symbol of New York’s prison system history. It encourages critical thinking and encourages introspection about one’s values and beliefs. Instead of arguing for its destruction, we suggest preserving and examining this one-of-a-kind location.
May our exploration ignite your curiosity to further explore its rich history and truly grasp its importance. In addition, we aim for this post to generate increased awareness and interest in the larger challenges that the prison population and the criminal justice system encounter. We appreciate your presence throughout this journey and look forward to embarking on more exciting adventures and making new discoveries in the future.