Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Stone Upon Stone: Sing Sing Prison

Photo Gallery

Burns Patterson
A picture of Sing Sing prison around 1915, before the modernization of the facility. Sing Sing is one of the most well-known prison names in the world.

Ossining Historical Society
Captain Elam Lynds was Warden of Auburn Prison until he was appointed to build Sing Sing in 1825. With 100 inmates he started construction in brutal conditions, and finished the structure that became famous.

Courtesy of Sing Sing Prison Museum
The shower bath was another form of punishment used in Sing Sing to keep prisoners under control. chilled water was released over the prisoner, who was strapped into a semi-seated position, until the guard decided to stop.

Courtesy of Sing Sing Prison Museum
Picture of a flogging at Sing Sing. The prisoner was tied down and beaten with the short whip for infractions. There was no set duration, and salted water was rubbed in wounds with a towel.

Courtesy of Sing Sing Prison Museum
A model of Sing Sing's electric chair sits in the Sing Sing Prison Museum. The electric chair was the method of choice for executions for a long time in Sing Sing.

AP/Wide World
Robert G. Elliot was the executioner for Sing Sing prison from 1926 to 1939. He performed his duty many times, and traveled to other prison systems as well to act as executioner in five states.

Ossining Historical Society
Prisoners walking in lock-step. No talking, even when performing work, gave the place a strange, haunting quality, and unnerved visitors.

AP/Wide World
Warden Lawes was a reformer in the prison system, and worked towards the humane treatment of prisoners. He ran Sing Sing from 1919 to 1941, and stopped the brutal treatment of prisoners.

Ossining Historical Society
Correction Officer John Haryte was killed in a prison break from Sing Sing. His killers were caught, and ironically they were put to death only a few feet from where they committed the murder.

(photo from the author)
A guard tower at Sing Sing prison, overlooking the grounds from an outside wall. The tower was a tool used by the guards to keep inmates from trying to escape. With a view of most of the area, a guard with a rifle was an incredible deterrent.

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