Prison historic site takes hard look at mass incarceration

The nearly two-century-old penitentiary in Philadelphia that is now a historic site is retooling its programming to take a hard look at mass incarceration in America.

Eastern State Penitentiary is widely known for turning into a haunted house attraction each Halloween, and for providing a look back on a bygone era of corrections.

But now the penitentiary is creating a major new exhibit that raises questions about the role and effectiveness of today's prisons.

"Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration" opens next month in workshops alongside Cellblock 4.

Eastern State opened in 1829 with the belief that criminals could redeem themselves. By the 1930s, space meant to house 300 inmates instead held 2,000. By 1970, the year it closed, punishment was its primary mission.