The prison was constructed in the settlement of Sing Sing on the east bank of the Hudson River. That is about 30 miles north of New York City and it was formerly known as Mount Pleasant Prison. Because of its strong effect on pop culture and the popularity of crime thrillers people often want to know where is Sing Sing prison and why is it so famous?
The Sinstink Indian tribe and the Native American phrase sinck sinck, which means stone upon stone, inspired the Sing Sing Correctional Facility’s name.
In 1685, the tribe sold the property on which the prison now stands. They also sold the settlement in which it is situated. Ossining, New York, is now the name of the village.
The idiom up the river is a reference. You may have heard in movies or books, and it comes from the Sing Sing Correctional Facility. When you send someone up the river, you’re telling them they’re going to jail. People guilty of a crime in New York City were sentenced to Sing Sing in 1891. This also gave rise to the expression.
Why Was Sing Sing Prison Famous?
The electric chair was invented at nearby Auburn. Sing Sing was the site of all executions in the state until 1963. The notorious killing chair was eventually relocated to Green Haven prison.
Sing Sing was the site of 614 electric chair executions when death punishment was still authorized in New York. Old Sparky, as the chair was termed. In 1972, the state’s death punishment was repealed. On June 19, 1953
Cell Blocks At Sing Sing
The first Cellblock, built-in 1825, is regarded as a unique specimen of confinement architecture. The enormous stone walls remain, and this structure had a significant impact on the American penitentiary system.
The 1825 Cellblock, at the time, was the world’s largest prison. Its original dimensions were 476 feet long, 44 feet broad, and 4 floors tall. Inside, there were 800 cells designated to hold one guy, but they were sometimes shared by two.
The cells were about the size of a current yoga mat. It measured seven feet long, three feet broad, and seven inches tall. They would eventually add two additional levels to the structure, bringing the total number of convicts to 1,000.
The 1825 Cellblock, often known as The Big House and Castle on the Hudson. It was regarded as the world’s best jail design.
The Legacy Of Sing Sing Prison
One of the country’s most famous prisons has been at the forefront of key reform initiatives. From the introduction of a system that emphasizes seclusion from other inmates to major reform efforts, it had something to offer.
For decades, the jail, particularly its famous Cellblock has sparked debates. These were about key criminal justice problems like prison architecture, women in prison, and contract labor.
Sing Sing was the fifth jail erected by the state of New York, and construction began in 1824. The very first convicts arrived in 1826. The facility was hailed as a model prison by the state of New York due to its financial viability. Elam Lynds, the first warden, was appointed once the construction was completed in 1828.
At Sing Sing, he adopted the Auburn system, which commanded utter silence from the captives. The detainees were whipped and other forms of corporal punishment were used to enforce the strict rules.
Sing Sing began enabling offenders to socialize and focus on rehabilitation. Rather than their criminal pasts in the 1840s when they abandoned the strictly silent policy. Nonetheless, the conditions in this prison were terrible. Warden Lewis Lawes transformed Sing Sing into a more modern prison in the 1920s.
Sing Sing had sports teams, educational initiatives, and innovative discipline tactics during Lawes’ 21 years as warden. During his reign, additional facilities were constructed, and the original 1825 cellblock was eventually decommissioned.
Wardens And Punishments
Lynds left Sing Sing as warden in 1830 and returned to Auburn in 1838. After the death of a prisoner, he was asked to leave that prison a year later. Despite this, Sing Sing recruited Lynds again in 1843.
At Sing Sing, floggings and whippings were common punishments. The cat-o’-nine-tails was a brutal flogging device whose lashes were typically tipped with metal or barbs. It was widely used until it was outlawed by the New York State legislature in 1848.
Furthermore, while Lynds was warden, convicts were supposed to keep quiet, which included no chatting. Sing Sing became famous for its executions with the invention of the electric chair in 1891.
It Was Renamed By Citizens
Sing Sing settlement was renamed Ossining by its citizens in 1901. They sought to separate the community from the infamous prison, if not completely separate it. The jail was renamed Ossining Correctional Facility by the state in 1970 for the same reason.
However, the shift did not last. The previous name was reinstated in 1983 by local businessmen who hoped that the cachet of “Sing Sing”—at the time, the institution was well-known in American popular culture, frequently appearing in movies, television series, and books—would convert into tourist revenue.
Is Sing Sing Still Operating?
The Sing Sing Correctional Facility is still in use today. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision currently operate it as a maximum-security facility for male inmates. Approximately 1,700 inmates are now housed there.
The 1825 Cellblock and the 1936 Powerhouse have been proposed as locations for a Sing Sing museum. The Powerhouse will have art galleries and meeting rooms, according to the concept. This plant, located just outside the prison gate, used to produce all of the jail’s coal-powered electricity. This includes the electric chair as well.
Because the 1825 Cellblock is located on the prison grounds, a 400-foot walkway will be built to connect it to the Powerhouse exhibitions.