“Dark tourism” of prison attracts millions from around the world

Digital Originals

"Dark tourism" of prison attracts millions from around the world

With at least 60 museums in the United States, the rise of “dark tourism” has taken on a life of its own, attracting millions of people from around the world.

The Texas Prison Museum, an hour north of Houston, is one of most popular as CGTN’s Mike Miller explains from the dark side of Texas.

People are headed to prison, by choice. They’re tourists visiting a prison museum.

One of the most popular prison museums is in Huntsville, Texas, a small east Texas town surrounded by seven prisons.

Many European visitors frequently visit the Texas prison museum, fascinated with capital punishment in a state that leads the country in executions.

“Old Sparky” is the big draw.

Constructed by inmates in the early 1920s, the electric chair took the lives of 361 prisoners over a 40-year span.

The debate about “cruel and unusual” punishment led to a series of judicial challenges before the Supreme Court resulting in the temporary suspension of executions in 1964.

Capital punishment returned to Huntsville in 1982 when Texas became the first state to execute an inmate by lethal injection.

With 553 executions over the last 36 years, no other state has executed more inmates.