The county jail

An early cell-house jail

When the Gävle County Jail was opened in 1847 it represented a new and more humane treatment of prisoners, with separate cells for each prisoner. The idea behind the new cell-house jails was to isolate the inmates from each other's harmful influence and instead allow them to pass their time in quiet isolation. Inside their cells they could reflect on their crimes and come to better thoughts.

The jail was built according to what is known as the Philadelphia system, with cells placed along the outer walls on either side, around a light well extending through the entire height of the building. The cell-house jail in Gävle is one of the earliest and best-preserved T-shaped cell-house jails in Sweden.

Today the Prison Museum of Sweden is housed in ten cells on the jail's second floor. You can stroll through the history of the jail. In addition to various themed cells, in cells 35, 38 and 40 you can meet prisoners from 1850, 1900 and 1986 - the year the jail closed. Despite the building's history as a prison, it is a light and attractive architectural creation of great aesthetic value that greets the visitor today.


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