prisoner of time


Anamosa State Penitentiary is a maximum security prison for men, located in Anamosa, Jones County Iowa. First built in 1873, it is the second-oldest penitentiary in the state of Iowa, after Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP), which opened in 1836, pre-dating Iowa statehood. Inmates were transferred from Iowa State Penitentiary (which was known as Fort Madison Prison at the time) to begin breaking rocks in the quarry and leveling the grounds for construction. Over the course of almost 25 years, the entire prison grounds and surrounding farms were built with prisoner labor. Today, Anamosa State Penitentiary operates 7 farms on 1,436 acres, which produce corn, oats and hay, and sustain livestock for dairy and beef production. It also houses a prison industries factory that produces metal furniture and stamping products, custom woodworks, signs, screen printing and cleaning products.

Notable inmates at Anamosa have included:

John Wesley Elkins - On a warm July night in 1889, 11 year old Wesley went into the bedroom of his mother and stepfather, armed with a rifle and a wooden club. He shot his stepfather in the head, killing him instantly. His mother, who was sleeping with Wesley’s infant half-sister in her arms, awoke to the sound of the rifle shot. Before she realized what was happening, Wesley beat her to death with the club. He then picked up his sister, who was spattered with her parents blood, cleaned and dressed her, and then hitched up the family buggy to a horse and took off down the road towards his Grandfather’s house. He stopped at a neighbor’s house on the way to tell them that an assassin had murdered his parents, and that he was fleeing to safety with his sister. The neighbors alerted the police, who went to the Elkins house and, after surveying the crime scene, were skeptical of Wesley’s story. When questioned by investigators, Wesley quickly broke down and admitted to killing his parents, although his reasoning for doing so left them with more questions than answers. He told the police that he was upset with his parents for making him care for his infant sister far more than he wanted to, and he resented the extra responsibility. He had run away from home several times, only to be brought back, and he saw no escape from his predicament other than to kill them both.

At his trial, Elkins pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for the murders, and was sent to Anamosa penitentiary. At the time of his admission, he stood 4’8 tall and weighed 73 pounds. He spent 12 years at Anamosa, and devoted his time to working in the prison chapel and library, becoming skilled in reading and writing. In 1902, after a heated public debate which seemed to be evenly split in opinion as to whether he should be released or executed, he was granted parole by the governor. Following his release, he went to work for the railroads for many years, before marrying a woman from Honolulu and settling as a farmer in San Bernardino, California. To this day, many speculate that Wesley could not have committed the crimes, and was covering for someone, although he never admitted to it and no alternative suspect was ever named.

Lester Smith - Many years after Wesley Elkins was sentenced to life at Anamosa, Lester, then 10 years old, pled guilty to manslaughter for the murder of his brother and serious injury of his father after an argument. Upon arriving at the penitentiary, he stated that he quite enjoyed his new home, because he had plenty to eat and a bed of his own to sleep in, which was more than he had ever had. He spent 11 years at Anamosa and was pardoned with the agreement that he would be under guardianship of the president at Cornell College. He was given an education at Cornell and went on to work for an undisclosed newspaper in a large city in the midwest.

John Wayne Gacy - The serial killer and rapist spent 18 months of a ten-year sentence at Anamosa, for sodomy with a minor. Gacy reportedly was a “model prisoner” at Anamosa, and quickly rose to the rank of head cook. Twelve years later, he was convicted of 33 murders and was sentenced to death for 12 of them. He spent 14 years on death row before being executed at Stateville Prison in Illinois.

Robert Hansen - Known as “The Butcher Baker”, Hansen served 20 months of a three year sentence at Anamosa for burning down a school bus garage. After his release from prison, Hansen moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where he began abducting, raping and murdering women. He is known to have murdered at least 17 women, but his suspected body count is closer to 30. He was convicted in 1983 and sentenced to 461 years in prison without parole, and died in 2014 at the age of 75 due to undisclosed lingering health issues.

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3 Germany Facts

1. Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight saving time (DST, aka summer time). This occurred in 1916 in the midst of WWI and was put in place in order to conserve energy.

2. The capital of Berlin has more bridges than Venice in Italy – Berlin boasts 960 bridges, 59.8 square km of water in lakes, and ~180 km of navigable waterways. Combined with its surrounding state Brandenburg, it has Europe’s largest inland water network.

3. Prison escape is not punishable by law in Germany – German law maintains that it’s a basic human instinct to be free and, therefore, prisoners have the right to escape jail. Actual escapes, however, often do not go unpunished as prisoners are still held responsible for damage to property or bodily harm against any individual upon their breakout.

sara: what do you mean you don’t remember us

sara: you don’t remember that time i pulled a knife on you?

sara: or that other time i pulled a knife on you?

sara: or that time mick tried to kill all of us but then got better?