“This Scourge of Confinement”: James Morton’s Experiences of Incarceration in the Antebellum United States

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The article discusses prisoner James Morton's experiences as an inmate at Pennsylvania's Eastern State Penitentiary from 1846 to 1853, and it mentions the notations in Morton's diary which highlight the lives of criminals and detainees during America's antebellum period. According to the article, Morton was a confidence man (swindler) who also served time in prison for forging checks and identities. Prison violence is examined, as well as interactions between convicts and prison guards.