Chillicothe Women's Prison was originally constructed in 1888 as an industrial home for girls. Their mission statement summarizes their objective of being a place where "girls, removed from the vicious associates and evil influences, may receive careful physical, intellectual and moral training, participate in enjoyment of a true home life, be reformed and become good domestic women prudent in speech and conducts, cleanly industrious and capable housekeepers." Most girls were between the ages of 13 and 17 but some were as young as 10 and others, as old as 20 and they were assigned here by juvenile court and county court judges. On average, most girls who were admitted here served three years. The home was predominantly self-sufficient, having produced the food served on site at the home's farm and the clothing the inmates wore was made in their own domestic arts classes. According to the records of the 1918 harvest, their farm produced some "5,685 pounds of cabbage; 752 lbs of beets; 1,170 dozen ears of sweet corn; 692 pounds of eggplant; 453 bushels of tomatoes; 1943 pounds of greens; 1,741 heads of lettuce; and, 3737 dozen radishes". Various changes through the 30s, 50s and 60s included demolition of some attractive Victorian architecture, notably the Marmaduke Cottage which was replaced by the modernist utilitarian Blair and Donnelly Cottage housing units which comprise the main prison buildings now visible from the road. The only remaining original buildings include the McReynold's school building and the Power House, neither of which feature prominently in the overall layout of the current site.
Major reforms began to take place regarding institutional housing of inmates by the mid 20th century and of particular effect here was the passage of the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 which mandated de-institutionalization of offenders. In 1981, this facility closed as a juvenile institution and reopened as the Chillicothe Correctional Center. But it was soon evident that this site was not efficient nor ideal for an adult correctional facility and as such a new location was built at the cost of $120 Million in 2006. The old prison eventually closed down for good when the last of the 481 inmates were transferred to the new prison at 11:27 pm on December 5th 2008. For several years following, the future of the site was uncertain. The city had considered re-utilization and accepted offers for development. Nothing came of it and by July 2015, the city was accepting demolition bids. The winning contractor began their salvage and demolition of the old Chillicothe Correctional Center in December of 2015.
Note: Normally, I would have left out much of the information and obfuscated the name of a location like this (and I would have called this post "Prison #4") but in this case, the prison is being demolished as of this week so there's nothing to hide. In a month or so, the old Chillicothe Correctional Center will cease to exist.
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