This building is located in Anamosa, Iowa, 25 miles from Cedar Rapids. It was built between 1875 and 1899, and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It has even given its name to a historic district in Anamosa.
Its occupants probably do not fully appreciate its history and architecture. The building is a penitentiary, still housing inmates.
Two things are striking about the facility. First, it is remarkable how only a little over a century ago a building intended to house hardened criminals was designed with exterior beauty in mind. You may or may not like the Gothic/Romanesque/Victorian mash-up style, but there is no doubt that it was intended to be visually pleasing and add to the townscape.
Planning an attractive prison today would be considered an act of folly. Hell, we even make our new art museums or additions to old ones ugly.
Royal Ontario Museum with its new entrance
Second: aside from its exterior, the Anamosa Penitentiary is the very model of forward-thinking criminology. According to Wikipedia:
Supporting the Treatment and Security functions of the prison there is also a comprehensive program of religious services, physical, and creative activities.
A.S.P. Religion Center: This offers an expanding variety of services, programs, and studies from multiple faith groups. These include (listed alphabetically): Asatru, Buddhist, Christian (Catholic, Liturgical Protestant, Pentecostal & Gospel), Jehovah's Witnesses, Moorish Science Temple of America, Muslim (Sunni), Nation of Gods and Earths, Native American sacred ceremonies, Satanist, and Wicca. The program is supported by 60+ regular volunteers who are clergy and lay authorities in their various faith groups."Sorry, Warden, I can't make it to the license plate shop this afternoon. I'm on my way to Asatru class, and after that, my Satanist studies."
I wonder how they recruit the teachers or ministers. Ads in newspapers or online?
IOWA STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
is currently seeking a
(Must have M.S. degree in Creative Incarceration)
To serve in magnificent building in historic district of Anamosa
All benefits, including subsidized higher education leading to an
Advanced Satanist certificate
Women and minorities encouraged to apply
If only Alcatraz had been run along such progressive lines.