The Ohio State Reformatory was a prison, like many reformatories across the United States of America, where many of the toughest criminals were kept. Through the years, the facility was in decline as the conditions began to deteriorate. The inmates were eventually moved out, and the facility was closed in 1990. The facility was later reopened as a tourist attraction, and it was used as a movie set for ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. Today, you can take a tour of the facility and see the old cells and the places where the movie was filmed. There are self-guided tours and guided tours. Come and visit a piece of Ohio’s history.
Some of you are saying, “This is nice. They were able to save this place and make it a tourist attraction. This place must have many stories to tell. There is one big problem. This is a jail. A jail is where people go to get punished when they break the law. The place was surrounded by a fence with armed guards on duty. There are no railroads here. Therefore, I will not be spending any time in this place.”
It was a jail. It was where criminals were kept. How did the criminals get here? Some were brought in on a prison bus, but some came by train. Yes, the railroad brought prisoners to this facility. The railroad line is on the west side of the reformatory behind a fence is still an active line. (This part of the reformatory is currently not accessible to the public.) When the facility was open, the train pulled up to a special entrance, accompanied by armed guards, and then checked in before being sent to their cells. For those who were going to be spending time here, it was not an enjoyable ride on the train.
The Ohio State Reformatory is owned and operated by the Ohio State Reformatory Preservation Society. It is at 100 Reformatory Road in Mansfield, Ohio. It is just off U.S. Route 30 and minutes from Interstate 71. It is open year-round, but hours and days open do vary in different times of the year. Many tours options are available, and parking is available on site. Please note that due to the historic nature, the much of the facility is not handicap accessible. However, there is a tour that is handicap accessible where you see the Museum Store, the Scofield Café, the Corrections Museum, the Mailroom, the East and West Cellblocks, the East and West Showers, the solitary confinement area, the bullpen and mini-bullpen and the Central Guard Room. By the way, the tour guides will give assistance if necessary. Yes, everyone will have a great time visiting the Ohio State Reformatory, and the great people at the reformatory will see to it that you enjoy every minute of it. You can get more information about the Ohio State Reformatory and read more into the reformatory at https://www.mrps.org/.
Come see a piece of Ohio history that has a little railroad history. Be warned. You will end up in jail… and enjoy every minute of it.