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Virginia State Penitentiary: A Notorious History

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The Crime of Punishment

Thomas Jefferson developed the idea for the Virginia State Penitentiary and set the standard for the future of the American prison system. Designed by U.S. Capitol and White House architect Benjamin Latrobe, the "Pen" opened its doors in 1800. Vice President Aaron Burr was incarcerated there in 1807 as he awaited trial for treason. The prison endured severe overcrowding, three fires, an earthquake, and numerous riots. More than 240 prisoners were executed there by electric chair. At one time, the ACLU called it the "most shameful prison in America." The institution was plagued by racial injustice, eugenics experiments, and the presence of children imprisoned among adults. Join author Dale Brumfield as he charts the 190-year history of the iconic prison.

With images, bibliography, and index.