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Different things are disturbing about different abandoned places (structural instability ranks high on my overall list, for example), but prisons tend to be the most consistently unsettling. It's in the details even in otherwise clean, well lit rooms like this one: the food aperture on the door, for example, is essentially a box that food can be placed in and the cover closed before it is opened into the cell, and exists so blood, feces, or other unpleasant bodily fluids can't be flung through it onto correctional officers. Another easy to miss one is the concrete slab in the room behind it that serves as a bed, with iron loops protruding so the inmate can be strapped to it. If memory serves me correctly, this area housed Level V prisoners (could be Level IVs, but the cells/area seems more restrictive) - in essence, the most violent offenders in the prison system, and certainly the worst in this prison.

In a way it doesn't seem like much. The colors and lines are almost banal, yet the layers of terrible things required for a place like this to need to exist, and for one to be incarcerated in it, are so numerous and horrible that I sincerely wonder if they might not drive you mad if you were presented with them all at once.

Photograph and text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.
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