The Eastern State Penitentiary
is a former American prison in Philadelphia
. It was operational from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail
which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.
Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton
and Al Capone
were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark
, which is open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year 10 am to 5 pm.