Many men often ask me where they can go and get locked up in a jail cell for a few days.
There actually IS a place where you can go and get locked up. For real. Seriously! It’s called the Franklin County Historic Jail, and it’s located in Iowa of all places. My friend Pisslurper has already been there. You can read about Pisslurper’s experience by clicking to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of his adventure. Mark from Serious Male Bondage has also been to this place. You can read Mark’s account by clicking here.
Bind, the proprietor of the jail, sent in even more information, via Mark from Serious Male Bondage — who also passed along the many pictures accompanying this post, thank you very much!
The jail is only open for prisoners during the summer, so if you want to go there yourself and get locked up (highlyrecommended!) then you must visit the HamptonJail.com website now and make a reservation. Accommodations are on a first-come, first served basis and require a deposit.
Meanwhile, you can see and read below to learn even more:
The Franklin County Historic Jail
There seems to be a general fascination with jails, prisons and confinement. The No. 1 tourist destination in San Francisco is the famous Alcatraz Prison. There are many old jails and prisons across the globe that have been converted into museums that attract curious visitors. Visitors flock to these institutions of incarceration for various reasons.
These visitors come for perhaps the three main reasons.
The first group is those who are interested in the famous criminals who were inmates. These people are interested mostly in the historical aspects of the institutions
The second group of people is those who are looking for the thrill of seeing dungeon-like spaces that are frightening. Often these individuals are in search of haunting.
The third group is those who are interested in jails because they fantasize about what it would be like to lose freedom and become prisoners themselves.
It is this third group who would be very interested to find out about a jail in Iowa where they can. Franklin County Historic Jail in Iowa allows visitors to volunteer to be a prisoner without committing a crime.
The jail was built in 1880 and operated for 108 years until it closed in 1988. The Franklin County Historic Jail was the last “mom and pop” type of operation in Iowa to close. It could no longer meet the state regulations for jails.
The front of the building is a stately, Victorian-style, two-story brick home. This was the residence for the Sheriff and his family. In the back of the structure was a one-story jail. Strangely, the jail had a women’s cell upstairs in the house portion of the building. In the main jail area was an intake area and a segregation cell. The largest section of the building was the men’s jail. It was constructed as a large, all-metal room. In the middle of the room was a large cage that consisted of a cellblock and three cells with narrow doors that opened into it. In the 1920s plumbing was brought into the building. A toilet and sink was added to the cellblock. Later, a shower and second toilet was added outside of the cellblock in the “no man’s land” hallways that surround it.
The men’s jail, unlike more recent cells that use vertical iron bars, is built in a crisscross pattern of strap iron that is a quarter inch thick and three inches wide. Hand-driven rivets were placed at every junction of the straps. The straps are so close together on the cell doors that a man cannot get his hands through them. The walls and ceilings of each cell are made of solid, thick iron. The heavy sheet metal is reinforced on the outside with three-inch-wide strips of iron that were riveted on only four inches apart. The only light going into the cells comes through the doors and a small back window. The tight crisscross pattern reduces light transmission making the cells dark and oppressive for the prisoner. Dark shadows in the shape of the bars change slowly throughout the day in the dungeon-like spaces.
The most oppressive cell is No. 3. It has no back window. The cell is located at the end of the cellblock in a dark corner. The only light that cell gets is through the door. Because it was used as the punishment cell, the electric light is kept off inside that cell.
The jail has a scary and intimidating look to it. When you are locked in the jail, you are locked behind multiple layers of security to keep it to a maximum. A lever lock, two slide bolts with padlocks, and five locking doors keep a prisoner away from any hope of escape. The brass keys that are used in three of the solid heavy doors in the jail are enormous. The sounds of the doors slamming and bolts locking are startling and ominous at the same time. With stark walls of iron and thick concrete floors, the sounds of locks and bolts reverberate through the cells. The cells are small and cramped. There are concrete slabs on each side that form the beds for the inmates. Thin jail mattress pads covered in vinyl are placed on top of them to make sleep bearable.
When you get locked inside one of the cells, there are several emotional and physical feelings that can be almost overwhelming. Initially, when you hear that heavy door slam behind you, it is frightening. Then as you hear the lever lock being thrown, the various bolts being slid into place and then the padlocks being locked, you realize that you are really imprisoned. The first door that slams shut is a loud clang of metal against metal. Each succeeding door slams shut, but they become more distant. As the final door is shut and locked, it is difficult to hear it through all of the other closed doors that keep you confined.
A feeling of distance from the world sets in, and reality envelops you. You can look out of the cell door to see the cellblock. Strap iron surrounds it. Past the strap iron is an obstructed view of the exterior windows of the jail. They have expended steel mesh covering them, and beyond that, jail bars that are embedded deep into the thick brick exterior walls. The world is out there. But it is distant. You can hear the sounds of the cars outside. Every hour you hear the old bell chime on the courthouse. You can hear a faint sound of people in the bar across the alley at night. But it is a different world. Your reality is now this: Grey iron, and concrete. Your world is now a tiny cage. You cannot get past the door. You lean and push. You bang and try to get past it, but it is solid and does not move. The world outside is not your world anymore. Your world is now this tiny, stark cage.
You are now locked into a space where many inmates were incarcerated. You wonder about the inmates that were there in 1880. The cell you stand in housed prisoners from before the industrial revolution up through the space age. You wonder what these prisoners were like. Were they kept in shackles and chained to the wall as you are now? You think about the prisoners who were held during the prohibition and gangster days of the 1920s. You wonder about what the prisoners were like during the depression and the two world wars. They came and were locked up in this harsh environment that you now find yourself in. Even in the late 1980s, there were inmates here.
You begin to feel a connection to these inmates; these felons of every kind who passed this way. A part of them still seems to remain here. You feel a heavy feeling. You are experiencing the feelings of the many inmates that came and suffered in this dreadful place. The jail is drawing you in. It has captured you. As the cold shackles dig into your skin, you feel a kinship with the inmates who were here. The feeling completely overpowers you. It feels like the inmates are still here. They want to keep you locked up with them to share in their misery. You cannot escape the feeling. You crave the feeling. You want to be one of them. The jail has taken over and your only choice is to submit to the incarceration. You are now a prisoner. This is now your reality.
After you are released from this jail, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Something will always draw you back. This is the experience at the Franklin County Historic Jail in Iowa.
Metal would like to thank Bind for this information! And a huge thanks to Mark from Serious Male Bondage as well, for facilitating this article and for providing the many professionally shot photographs of the facility itself.
Remember, the jail is only open during the summer, and reservations are on a first-come first-served basis and require a deposit. Go to HamptonJail.com for more information.