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Location: Auburn, NY
Notable Residents: Jimmy Burke, Joe Gallo
Amenities: Site of the first electric chair
Built in 1816, this maximum-security state prison was built on land that was previously a Cayuga Indian village. After New York City's Newgate Prison, it was the second state prison constructed in New York. It was also the first prison to utilize what would come to be called the "Auburn System." Created with the intention of rehabilitating prisoners, the Auburn System pushed prisoners to perform manual labor. They worked during the day, and the profit from their work went right into the prison's pocket. The system separated inmates according to their crimes by using certain clothing. This is where the typical, black-and-white striped prison uniform was created. Prisoners ate in a communal dining room, but a strict code of silence was enforced by prison guards. Though an original plan for Auburn Correctional Facility specified that prisoners would live in double cells, they came to live individually. The Auburn System is a contrasting methodology to the "Philadelphia System" used at Eastern State Penitentiary, which focuses on reform in a less strict fashion.
Auburn Correctional Facility has its place in history firmly cemented, as it was the site of the first execution by electrocution. It's also famous for the huge colonial soldier that sits atop the complex. Known as "Copper John," the statue was originally made out of wood. However, it was abused by the elements and replaced with a more durable, copper version.
In 2011, Auburn was the site of New York's first same-sex prison marriage.