BETWEEN BARS | Inside Maximum Security

Auburn Correctional Facility is less than an hour’s drive directly north of Ithaca, in a city whose population is comparable to that of total enrollment at Cornell. Sitting atop one of the Finger Lakes, it looks like any other town to pass by on the rolling hills of Upstate New York. But if obscurity has different degrees, Auburn is not a place without a name. It’s where Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman lived and died. It’s also home to one of the nation’s oldest prisons, one that pioneered the practice—the “Auburn system”—of daytime penal labor followed by solitary confinement at night, all under enforced silence.