Charlestons old jail housed some of the areas most notorious criminals, and many non criminals. Built in 1802 it was not a place meant to rehabilitate, it was to punish or just lock away people as deemed necessary.
I’ve been told the truth is people were not kept here for long periods. A solution was determined, permanent or otherwise, as quick as possible.
The first floor was for people of means, death row, or other temporary needs. These images are of the second floor.
This was a difficult place, for criminals, debtors, or poor individuals waiting for trail.
Above is from inside one of the ‘cells’. Basically a cage that can house 11 – 15 people. Age and sex did not matter. Large rooms looked to hold about 4 cages. A single fire place in the corner could provide some heat.
There were windows for air. Also if a prisoner did have any money items could be purchased, and retrieved by rope, from outside the jail.
John and Lavinia Fisher, as well as members of their gang, were imprisoned here. They were famous highwaymen of the era (Lavinia was at one point wrongly accused of being the first female serial killer). Also Pirates still roamed the seas, once Black Beard the pirate closed the harbor and demanded ransom… or something. That story grows in details almost weekly. However, pirates were caught and executed in this jail.
Note; The old Charleston Jail is being renovated to be used for commercial purposes. A small group was invited to visit and photograph the historical site before it is gone. This is part of that project.