Franklin County 

Historic Jail

Hampton, Iowa

Comments from visiting guests

Hi. Just wanted to Thank you again for all you did to make my visit a great adventure. I enjoyed hearing about the history of the jail and the tour.  You do beautiful work!

I had a great time at your jail! It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget, and hope to repeat! The jail is an amazing place and I can see all the work you have put into it! You are doing an great job! I loved all my time there but especially the time in the dark cell shackled! I really enjoyed meeting you and the judge! Also thank your team for making my stay so real! I hope to see you again!

Wanted to say thanks for doing a great job with the role play. I think you are proving a valuable service to the community and an asset to the town.

Thanks for the opportunity this last weekend it was eye opening.  I am a little sad that I had to leave so soon and would have liked staying longer as crazy as that sounds, but I am also glad to be free from incarceration.  You are running an incredible service that is done with professionalism.

Thank you so much for your hospitality and for your leadership when you locked me up last week. I enjoyed every second and minute! Let me congratulate you for your impressive achievement! You miraculously discovered this incredible place in the middle of nowhere. I would not have expected that something like this - definitely worthwhile to be preserved as part of America's cultural heritage - would still exist. Respect! 

​Last week I was incarcerated there for three days. That jail is the real thing; in 108 years of operation NO ONE escaped the jail. The place is hard core, seriously real. And the experience of being locked in that steel and concrete cell surpasses any fantasy hands down. Still thinking about my experience. Absolutely loved it!!!

I want you to know I had an amazing time! The yard time was incredible and the time spent in the darkened cell were two stand out moments from a great experience.

Thanks again for providing an outlet for my unique interests!

I wanted to write to thank you for the superb experience at the jail last week.  My three days there far exceeded my expectations.  In particular, I loved the interaction with the other prisoners, and I loved the yard time.  Well, actually, there wasn’t anything about the experience that I didn’t love, except for the restraint chair and that horrid episode of the Andy Griffith Show.  (Granted, I know I brought that on myself, but it was nonetheless my least favorite 22 minutes of my incarceration.)  You have done a spectacular job with your restoration, and I feel fortunate to have been able to experience the jail firsthand.  Additionally, I appreciated how clean the entire facility was.  You’re doing a great job with the jail, and I hope you have continued success in the future. (Note from the jailer: This inmate was made to watch the Andy Griffith Show as a result of his disrespect to the officer. He called me "Barney Fife" and I didn't like it; so I decided to teach him a lesson.)

Thank you again for a fantastic time!!! I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and am anxious to visit again.

Thanks for the Tour, I love the place - It's wonderful and you're doing a fantastic job so hang in there. 

Your jail is great and I thank you for bringing me thru the experiece so professionally.  I enjoyed the handcuffs - very professional and the shackles. Being in my cell for almost 12 hours each night in darkness was great. The isolation and darkness definitely gives one time to think.  but the highlight was the exercise yard.

I just did a term there; it is a real jail; not some make-believe jail, so you actually feel like a prisoner. You are treated like a real prisoner, in a real jail. Just like the prisoners were in this jail until 1988 when the county closed it. It is great. You are booked into the jail, just like a real prisoner; your clothes are taken, except for shorts; you are given an orange jail uniform with "prisoner" on it; you are fingerprinted, your picture taken, and in handcuffs you are moved into the jail, and then the heavy iron doors are slammed shut, and you are a prisoner for an hour, a day, or a week, or....

Thank you so much for the awesome experience of being locked in your jail this week.  I can’t tell you how immensely I enjoyed the jail, the captivity, and getting to know you a little better.  I really don’t think there was a bad moment in the entire four days. Here are a few of the highlights that come to mind:
The searches, especially after yard time.  Being cuffed and shacked in the isolation cell the first day (even though I complained about it, I loved it.)  The yard time, especially when the two guys came by on their bicycles and talked to us.  Having the windows open and the sound of the traffic and the trains and the church bells.  Listening to that strong storm at night and seeing the flashes of lightning.  Weeding the garden and cleaning the jail as part of my work detail.  Wearing the old prisoner jumpsuits.  Banging on the bars.  Trying to ‘escape,’ even though I knew it was futile.  The sensations of being in the jail—the smell of the jail, the feel of steel and concrete, the sounds of the locks.  Being locked in cell 3 with the heavy irons in the short 1800's role play (even though I know that was a break from the 1967 jail role-play).
Waking up early and waiting for 7 o’clock to roll around.  I could keep listing things on an on, but I just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks, and I hope to see you again soon.

I just wanted to send you a note thanking you again for a one-of-a-kind experience. Your passion for the jail and its history come through.  From the beginning to the end, the experience went beyond my expectations.  Your willingness to customize it for each person is commendable. Have a successful summer! 

That jail experience was quite intense.  It was about three days before my mind ramped down again. Especially effective was that things kept getting ramped up and more intense the longer there. I think it's more interesting for the prisoners and guards to be challenging each other. Taking things to the next level......... and uncooperative prison punks deserve punishment!  It was interesting to see the original equipment of an old county jail.......and although about 100 years old it was all meticulously maintained and in working order. I'm an officer in the military and getting away from having to give orders for three days; and especially getting away from any and all email, cell phones, internet, radio, and tv for three days allowed me to focus my mind and get perspective on some things.  

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