The Jail

The jail was divided into two sections, each having six cells on two tiers, facing a walkway and windows.


The 24 cells were 7'x4'x9' and made of cut stone blocks, secured by an iron-barred door.


The prisoners had access to the open corridor during the day, which held a wooden table and bench. Prisoners ate their meals there, wrote letters, and often drew on the walls.

The Cells

Each cell had a cot, a straw mattress, a blanket, and a night bucket. The cot was

7' 6" by 2' 2" and made of metal straps on a pipe

frame with pipe legs.

One side of the cot was attached to the wall and could be anchored flat when not in use.

The only available ventilation or light came through the barred door from the windowed corridor opposite the cells.

The Bathrooms

The "night buckets" served in place of toilets.

Prisoners emptied their buckets into an open cesspool behind the jail.
The waste would be washed into the surrounding yards when it rained, leading to health issues through contaminated water.


In 1917, two 12' by 13' toilet rooms were built, each having a toilet, basin, shower, and a double laundry sink.

The Time

Prisoners kept busy doing laundry, helping with food preparation, ironing, and doing their dishes.

Some better-behaved prisoners worked at Rochester Workhouse and were paid $1.25 a week. 

Ministers would visit the prisoners occasionally to provide services.

Visitors were allowed on Sundays but were not searched before the visit. Escape tools were often smuggled in.

THE CELLBLOCKS