By Tom Dare
A SERIES OF CHILLING images showing the inside of a U.S. state prison once used to house inmates who knew they would be spending the rest of their lives behind bars have been published for the first time today, giving a rare insight into some of the conditions faced by inmates in America’s south.
Images from the abandoned state prison in Atlanta, Georgia show the prison chapel as it was when the prison closed in 2011, while another shot shows the grounds of the prison from the outside, with metal benches nailed to the ground for safety.
Further images from the collection also show the prison’s abandoned infirmary, with hospital beds sat unattended in a corridor, with another shot showing the solid steel doors of the prison’s dormitory, which is where inmates would have slept during their incarceration.
The prison in the photos was initially built as a hospital in 1950 and was intended to house African American patients during segregation.
However the facility was converted into a 600 person men’s-only prison in 1978, and was used to house both minimum and medium security inmates. Most of the men kept there were either elderly or disabled prisoners who had been sentenced to spend their remaining years behind bars. The vast majority of these were confined to wheelchairs or beds and suffering from health issues.
The prison was also home to several dozen able-bodied inmates, who were responsible for labour-intensive jobs and the general upkeep of the facility, with eight dorms in total each of which housed approximately 65 prisoners. It also had eight cells for isolation and segregation.
These shots of the prison, which was eventually closed in 2011, were taken by photographer Abandoned Southeast, who has photographed countless abandoned sites across the United States.
And he says that his photography is a great way to preserve in pictures what has been left behind by others.
“I’ve always enjoyed discovering what is left behind, and I got into photography as a way to preserve those memories,” he says.
“I read about this prison online and wanted to see it in person. The most dangerous part was watching out for snakes in the undergrowth brush around the prison!
“I love the natural decay. This place resembles something straight out of life after people.
I want others to enjoy my explorations through my lens.
“People are always amazed by my photos and what I am able to capture, and I especially enjoy sharing these photos with others who are intrigued by urban decay.”
For more information see www.abandonedsoutheast.com