Infotainment

Inside the Old Joliet Prison

May 13 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/13/2019 12:04:03 PM IST

 The correctional facility made famous in the 1980 comedy classic The Blues Brothers is now open to the public. Ever wanted to see the prison cell where 'Joliet Jake' Blues from the 1980 classic The Blues Brothers was kept? For the first time since the Joliet Correctional Center opened in 1858, and closed in 2002, The Old Joliet Prison - what it's called by locals - is now open for tours. The Washington Post went behind the scenes to show what it's included for the $20 visit and explains how Joliet went from the second-largest prison to disrepair.

The prison was designed in a Gothic style and built by convict labor with limestone quarried on site. By 1872, the building housed 1,239 inmates, a record number for one prison at the time.  
In fact, in one cell, a pair of shorts lies on the floor, either left behind by a former prisoner or one of the actors. The tour, which lasts 90 minutes, begins where John Belushi's character 'Joliet Jake' walks out of the gate to meet his brother Elwood, played by Dan Aykroyd.  
Peerbolte says the film, along with the Fox TV series Prison Break - which also filmed at the prison - have helped drive the majority of tourists.
He told The Post that 200 tickets have already been booked over the summer from China, where Prison Break is a popular show.  
Peerbolte even recounted the story of a man from Italy who spoke no English, but was able to ask where Belushi's cell was. After seeing it, the man began crying. 
The Old Joliet was not quick to adapt to the times and did not have running water or toilets in the cells in 1910. In the summer, prisoners bathed once a week in iron tubs and, in the winter, they bathed every two weeks. The cell is four feet wide, seven feet high and seven feet long, and holds an iron bunk bed frame. Next to the cell, a plaque refers to Joliet as the 'last of the Illinois medieval prisons', the Post reports.
Following stops on the tour include the cells used for solitary confinement and the prison chapel.  
(Mary Kekatos for Dailymail)

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