East Cell House Torn Down At State Penitentiary - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

East Cell House Torn Down At State Penitentiary


Inmates are moved into the new addition at the State Penitentiary and now an old cell house is history.

Prisoners moved out of the East Cell House in late June, and soon after demolition began on the building.

Jon Berg talks with one Penitentiary employee who started his career in the East Cell House and reflects back on the history behind it.

<<"I began work there in 1983," Deputy Warden of Operations Pat Branson said.

Pat Branson started his career as a security guard in the East Cell House.

"It was actually constructed using inmate labor and those were some of the things they did then that we don't do now," Branson said.

The building was built in 1910 and housed inmates everyday for the last 100 years.

"It was constantly busy it was a very busy place to work and I gravitate towards those places that are very busy," Branson said.

Even though the East Cell House is gone --- Branson still remembers the early years of his career and the inmates that lived in the house.

"You know we housed a lot of characters in there over the years, and there was a lot of good and bad memories of course."

If Branson had the choice he says he'd go back to working in what he calls "the 1910" building.

"And the reality was if I ever had to go back to security work and I over the years I've said this if I ever had to go back working security and be on a shift I would go right back to that cell house, because it actually was over the years my favorite place to work," Branson said.>>

During his 30 years at the Pen, Branson has worked his way up the ladder since starting at the East Cell House.

He started in security and today is the deputy warden of operations at the Penitentiary.

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