Litchfield County Jail

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Litchfield County Jail, 1907

The 1812 Litchfield County Jail is a former correctional facility in Litchfield, Connecticut. It is the town's oldest public building and a former jail.[1]


The facility, controlled by the Connecticut state government, historically held inmates convicted of minor offenses, and it had a capacity of 120 prisoners. Bill Ryan of The New York Times wrote that Litchfield Jail "is part of the lore of Litchfield" and that "For generations, the reputation of the jail was that of a country club of penal institutions where the living was positively easy."[2]

The prison held British people during the War of 1812.[3] In the early 20th century an addition was built joining Litchfield Jail to the First National Bank of Litchfield, an 1816 structure.[2]

In a period before the 1990s the state began allowing violent prisoners into the facility, and it reached capacity. A prisoner escaped the prison, stabbed a guard, and held a man from the State of New York as a hostage, so the state government removed the violent prisoners and made it a drug treatment center for male inmates in 1992. The prisoner capacity was reduced to 30. Governor of Connecticut Lowell P. Weicker Jr. ordered the facility closed for financial reasons in 1993.[2]

It was converted into the McAuliffe Manor, a substance abuse treatment center for women operated by Naugatuck Valley HELP Inc., holding women who were convicted of drug-related crimes who would have otherwise been sent to Connecticut state prisons.[2] In 2009 the contract between Naugatuck Valley HELP Inc. and the state expired, leading to the closure of McAuliffe Manor.[4]

In 2010 the state government put the jail on the market. The municipal government refused multiple offers to take the former jail for free on the grounds of the costs and potential risks of owning the facility.[5] In 2013 the state government sold the facility for $130,000 to Russell Barton, a businessperson and real estate investor from the area.[3]


  1. ^ Cooper, Anneliese (2014-06-06). "'Orange Is the New Black's Prison Location Isn't Real, But It's Not Entirely Fictional Either". Bustle. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ryan, Bill (1994-10-16). "Litchfield's Jail Begins Another Era With Women Hoping for New Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  3. ^ a b "State sells historic Litchfield County jail". Associated Press at WTNH. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Alex (2009-05-22). "Rehab center closing: McCauliffe Manor's contract expires". The Register Citizen. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  5. ^ Flynn, Ryan (2014-08-21). "200-year-old Litchfield jail sold to local developer". The Register Citizen. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 


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