Nov 122012

Chooch has been obsessed with prisons thanks to season 3 of The Walking Dead, so I thought it would be fun to take him to the old State Pen in Moundsville, WV last weekend for a tour. Henry acted all put-out about it, but you know he was in there flexing his fake muscles during the tour, fantasizing about being a prison guard.

This was one of the bloodiest prisons in America, and all those paranormal shows have had episodes revolving around it. The prison itself offers ghost tours, which is what I really wanted to do but figured I would start out with the historical tour so that my 6-year-old doesn’t get too fucked up.

I took a ton of pictures with my phone and camera, so this is going to have to be done in parts.

Entering the North Hall.

North Hall: where the most savage inmates were kept. Chooch is absolutely obsessed with two inmates, Red and Rusty, who were held in this hall. Red was stabbed 37 times by Rusty in 1992.

Even in broad daylight, with a group of about 15, you just couldn’t shake that foreboding sensation. I lingered a few times while taking pictures, and then did a super-frantic scramble back to the group.

I think Chooch sat in every cell.

It’s hard to imagine spending 23 hours a day in that tiny cell. I’m fairly positive I wouldn’t last a night. Especially not without my PHONE, god forbid.

I have a pen pal on death row in Florida. It makes me wonder what his cell is like. I don’t think I ever asked him in the 10 years we’ve corresponded!

If Henry was a prison guard, he’d be the first son of a bitch to get shanked in a cafeteria riot and you know it. And let’s not even think about his fate as an actual inmate. Can you imagine how fast he’d wind up as some hick biker’s Mary?

Actually, he’s probably felt like an inmate for the last eleven years now that I think about it.

Part of this door was turned into a shiv after an inmate patiently worked on it with a cigarette lighter. (Seems kind of stupid to me that they were once allowed to have lighters on them, but hey — what do I know.)  Inmates are the worst kinds of MacGyvers.

Ha-ha-ha, glory hole! (Glory triangle?) Apparently, two North Hall inmates were pretty intimate with each other. This was my favorite part!

Can you imagine all the Jonny Craig graffiti I’d have in my jail cell?

The door to this cell had to be cut to accommodate an inmate in a wheelchair. On the day he was being transferred to a new facility, he got up out of his wheelchair and walked out.


The Wheel House — a large iron-barred revolving door in the Administration Building used to transport prisoners from one area to another. This is basically what Chooch looked like during the whole tour – he never stopped moving. For a change though, he wasn’t being too annoying. He was just super stimulated and interested in everything the guide was saying.

Still, I was thankful that our guide seemed like a kid person. Chooch kept ditching us to walk with her.

  6 Responses to “Moundsville: West Virginia State Pen, Part 1”

  1. Can you be my mother? My mom never took me on any cool tours of penitentiaries.

  2. Came across your blog while researching Lizzie Borden. Loved reading the adventures of you and your adorable son.

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