Perhaps the ultimate in prisons except for Devil’s Island in what used to be French Guiana was “Château d’If” off the coast of Marseille, France. Prisoners were arranged by class with the poorest sent to the dungeons. Immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Count of Monte Cristo concerning the imprisonment of Edmond Dantès. The prison, now a museum, is seen here in 1956. Clearly, Alcatraz was patterned after Château d’If.
It has been called by many names. Quarantine. Self-Isolation. Social Distancing. So in looking for the perfect description I turned to Hollywood. Eureka! Throw Mama From The Train (1987).
The night was sultry!
Having to stay home for an undetermined time period essentially feels like house arrest minus the ankle monitor. I think that this description comes closest to reality.
So now we’re trying to figure out how to avoid contracting the coronavirus. The world has truly turned not sparing the rich nor the poor. Absent a vaccine against this outbreak we are left to washing our hands and avoiding contact with other people.
It may not be the former French penal colony at Devil’s Island, but I would prefer to skip the tour nonetheless. A prison in paradise: “Papillion“; New Caledonia (1968). Happy Halloween everyone!
Another case of art imitating life. When we first saw this image the significance for us at DPI was instantaneous. One of the most acclaimed films is “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) starring Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as “Red”. Andy was sent to this fictional Shawshank prison in Maine in 1947. The photo in this blog was also taken in Maine at the Thomaston State Prison in 1940. The image shows the warden and several guards. The warden seems to even bear an uncanny resemblance to warden Norton in the film albeit a bit taller. It does make you wonder.
Note the “Home, Sweet, Home” sign. “His judgment cometh and that right soon”. An image almost too good to be true.
Always room for one more. If you do the crime, you’ve got to do the time. No one is above the law. True that Alcatraz is no more than a tourist attraction these days, but it once housed the most notorious criminals in our society. DPI’s prison collection contains more images of Alcatraz as well as other prisons some not so well known. Seen below is an image we call “Workin’ On The Chain Gang” taken in Florida in 1936.
Arkansas prison, “The Farm”. Maybe not as well known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, but a place to stay far away from if possible. Shown here is the water wagon used for the prisoners out in the fields (April 18, 1957). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cummins_Unit for a full explanation of the goings on at Cummins.