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Tom Hanks: ‘The Green Mile Prison’ Now Abandoned – Tennessee State Prison

Nikola Petrovski

Located near downtown Nashville, Tennessee there is what appears to be a castle from some fairy tale. The insides of this building have been portrayed in the movie Green Mile, so having this information there should be no problem in concluding that this Castle is a prison, the Tennessee State Prison.

Opened in 1898 with the capacity of 1400 people it was the correction facility where many were serving their time. After this prison closed its doors for prisoners it opened them widely for the film industry, most recently there is the VH1’s Celebrity Paranormal Project that was filmed in this location.

The design for this Castle was inspired from a penitentiary at Auburn, New York, another prison famous for the lockstep marching, and those striped prisoner uniforms which are so good portrayed in all of the new and old cartoons.

Striped prisoner uniforms.

Striped prisoner uniforms.

 

 

 Even though everything about these prisons appears to be either a fairy tale or a cartoon these prisons were with medium to high security, these places where some of the most notorious inmates were to be found.
The electric chair chamber on death row. Author: Dave.scaglione CC BY-SA 3.0

The electric chair chamber on death row. Author: Dave.scaglione CC BY-SA 3.0

Together with warehouses, and factories the Tennessee State Prison was like a campus where inmates were to serve their time properly. There was also a plan for a small farm outside of the walls and a program for separating the younger offenders from the old school prisoners.

The person that stood behind the fairy tale/prison Castle was Enoch Guy Elliott. Married with Lady Ida Beasley Elliott (who was a Missionary to Burma) this same Enoch was put to be the Chief Warden.

In its construction, some 12.3 million dollars were used not including the cost of the land upon which this Castel stood. So in order to end up with profit, every prisoner was to defray a portion of the cost of incarceration by performing physical labor.

Prison Cell At Tennessee State Prison.

Prison Cell At Tennessee State Prison.

Working up to 16 hours every day, they (the inmates) were heading back to their unheated, unventilated sleeping quarters. So much for the fairy tale.

Cell block of abandoned Tennessee State Prison. 

Cell block of abandoned Tennessee State Prison. 

But no prison would be complete without a riot. One day in 1902, seventeen prisoners simply blow up one end of the wing in the prison creating a chance for two prisoners to breathe in freedom once more. Another riot that happened was 1938 when more than two prisoners escaped, and another was when the inmates set the main dining room on fire.

 

When the new Riverbend Maximum Security Institution was completed in 1989 the Tennessee State Prison after 91 years of serving was closed for good. But its history continues to exist trough the movies such as The Green Mile starring Tom Hanks

Against the Wall where we can find Samuel L. Jackson

and The Last Castle where Robert Redford played Lieutenant General Eugene Irwin

Countless other projects and even music videos future this Prison.