Old Idaho Penitentiary

2445 Old Penitentiary Road
208-334-2844

The Old Idaho Penitentiary is a division of the Idaho State Historical Society. The "Old Pen" opened as a territorial prison in 1872 & closed its doors in 1973. It is now open year-round for self-guided & guided tours. Call 208-334-2844 for more details.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals.  Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows.  The Friends of the Historical Museum and Old Idaho Penitentiary is an organization dedicated to support the Idaho State Historical Museum and the Old Idaho Penitentiary.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary features thirty historic buildings and special exhibitions including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit of Arms and Armaments.  Events and programs provide families, school groups, and visitors an opportunity to relive the Old Pen's exciting past of daring escapes, scandals, and executions. The Old Idaho Penitentiary is located in the Old Penitentiary Historic District and is open year round.


Reviews

Patty Lou

Rating:
Friday, May 5, 2017

It was so interesting about how the prisoners were housed & how they were treated. Nothing but buckets/no toilets in some of the oldest cells with no running water. Polygamist were incarcerated due to the Latter Day saints population in the region and they were taking up a large percentage of the prison. Young boys (a 11 year old killed mother) were also jailed in a separate section. There was also a small women's building with mostly homocide females. Hanging executions were the norm. The prison was closed down in 1974 after a riot due to living conditions.

Ivana Moroz

Rating:
Saturday, April 29, 2017

A piece of history in Boise, Idaho. Self guided walk through of different buildings in the old prison including solitary confinement and the children's ward. A must see for anyone who enjoys history and museums. Entrance is only $6.

Chris Carroll

Rating:
Friday, March 31, 2017

They have an interesting and informative tour available for a fair rate. I left with a head full of history about the penal system in Idaho, particularly the former death penalty. It's also a great place to take pictures and get a little creeped out by all the old buildings and execution chamber.

Sandi Novinger

Rating:
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Very nice volunteers. Enjoyed the self guided tour. Very interesting and worth the time.

Karissa J

Rating:
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fascinating history for 6 dollars a person we were able to get a map and walk around and spend as long as we wanted I thought the women's ward was interesting but Siberia was my favorite part of the prison.