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Tourist Trap: West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville

Don’t have a Civil War battlefield, aquarium, or giant ball of string? How about the local lockup? Across the nation, communities have turned some 40 old jails and prisons into tourism sites. At the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, shuttered in 1995 after the state Supreme Court ruled that its 5×7 cells constituted cruel and unusual punishment, visitors are told how overhead fencing protected guards from debris thrown by inmates. Among the most popular events are “Dungeon of Horrors” Halloween tours; you can also stay at the prison overnight.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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