Dickens' doubt would prevail. In 1913, Eastern State gave up on the Pennsylvania System of isolation and penitence. Prisoners shared cells, worked together, and even played in organized sports. Francis Dolan, site manager of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historical Site, explains, "The solitary confinement system was nearly impossible to maintain given the technology of the early 19th century, and collapsed under the weight of it's own lofty morals." And just like the jail on Walnut Street, the penitentiary, says Dolan, "was doomed by the rapid growth of Philadelphia." What was meant to originally hold about 300 prisoners was, by the 1920s, forced to house some 2,000. More and more cells were constructed, including ones built below ground without windows, light or plumbing. Eventually, solitude wasn't about redemption, but punishment.
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