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Welcome to Bigroads.com's guide to the prison & jail museums of the United States!

As prisons and jails close or are otherwise retired, they are often turned into museums instead of being destroyed. There are already dozens of prison & jail museums in the United States, and none is more famous than Alcatraz. Alcatraz isn't the only prison worth visiting though - there are scores of other excellent prison & jail museums across America that offer guided and self-guided tours. To help you make the most of your time, we have put together a highly-opinionated list of what we believe to be the top 15 jail and prison museums in the United States.

This top 15 list is sorted alphabetically by state (and not by quality or rank). Please send us an email at gparsons66@hotmail.com if you believe we have missed any of the very best prison museums in the United States.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

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Arizona Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park Prison Yuma
California Alcatraz / Alcatraz Island Prison San Francisco
Colorado Museum of Colorado Prisons Prison Canon City
Idaho Old Idaho Penitentiary Prison Boise
Michigan Cell Block 7 Prison Museum Prison Jackson
Missouri Missouri State Penitentiary Prison Jefferson City
Montana Old Montana Prison Complex Prison Deer Lodge
New Jersey Burlington County Prison Prison Mount Holly
Ohio Ohio State Reformatory Prison Mansfield
Pennsylvania Eastern State Penitentiary Prison Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Old Jail Museum Jail Jim Thorpe
Texas Texas Prison Museum Prison Huntsville
West Virginia West Virginia Penitentiary Prison Moundsville
Wyoming Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site Prison Laramie
Wyoming Wyoming Frontier Prison Prison Rawlins


Here are the five best prison museums in the United States:

Alcatraz, San Francisco, California
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Yuma, Arizona
Old Idaho Penitentiary, Boise, Idaho
Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

prison cells within Alcatraz, San Francisco, California

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