Eastern State Penitentiary Hosts “Family Weekend: Pets in Prison” on Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24
August 22, 2017
Philadelphia, PA (August 22, 2017) – Eastern State Penitentiary partners with New Leash on Life USA to present “Family Weekend: Pets in Prison” on Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24. The event, designed for kids and adults of all ages, will feature interactive and educational activities all weekend long. Visitors can learn about the role of animals throughout Eastern State’s history, participate in an animal-themed scavenger hunt, and meet (and adopt) shelter dogs from a local prison dog-training program.
The scavenger hunt takes visitors to locations throughout the penitentiary complex to learn more about Eastern State’s most famous four-legged inmate, Pep the Dog, and about other animals throughout the prison’s history. Some furry (and some creepy-crawly) creatures once lived behind Eastern State Penitentiary's walls. Some prisoners kept pets in solitary confinement, and a colony of feral cats occupied the property when the prison was abandoned. Officers once patrolled the grounds on horseback and kept German Shepherds for security.
Beginning at 1:00 p.m. each day, Norberto “Rob” Rosa will speak to visitors about his experience training dogs as an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (SCIG), and how it ultimately affected his life and career. At age 18, Rob was sentenced to 12 years in prison. A puppy training program there changed his life, and today Rob is the Associate Vice President of Prison Programs for New Leash on Life USA. Visitors to the historic site will hear more about his firsthand experience improving the lives of inmates and saving the lives of dogs.
This 15-minute presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A and will culminate in a dog training expo. Several dogs, trained by local inmates, will demonstrate the tricks they have learned through the New Leash on Life USA program. Visitors can meet the dogs and, if interested, can adopt any dogs that haven’t yet found homes.
All Family Weekend activities are included with standard admission. Regular daytime programs, including “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, guided Hands-On History tours, history exhibits, and artist installations, are also included with admission. Tickets are available online at www.EasternState.org, or at the door subject to availability.
About New Leash on Life USA:
New Leash on Life USA is a Pennsylvania 501(c)(3) nonprofit prison dog training program, dedicated to improving the life of inmates and saving the lives of dogs. The organization saves the lives of at-risk shelter dogs by training prison inmates to care for, and socialize them to enhance their adoptability. Inmates attend workshops on life skills and job readiness, and many receive opportunities for paid internships in the animal care field when they are paroled. Previously “unadoptable” shelter dogs, many at the brink of death, now find loving forever homes. Additionally, inmates who have been in and out of prison most of their adulthood now have a skill they can use to gain productive employment. Improving the lives of inmates and saving the lives of dogs, New Leash on Life USA believes that everyone deserves a second chance.
For more information, visit www.newleashonlife-usa.org
About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site:
Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is open seven days a week, year round. When purchasing online, admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and children ages 7-12. When purchasing at the door, admission is $16, $14, and $12, respectively. (Not recommended for children under the age of seven.) Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.
For more information and schedules, the public should call (215) 236-3300 or visit www.EasternState.org.