Go to jail without committing a crime. Experience being arrested, jail intake procedures and incarceration in a realistic historical jail roleplay. Learn about what jail was like in the 19th and 20th centuries from the inmate's perspective. Guests are selected based on their applications.
Inmate guests are selected based on the applications that they send. We review each application carefully. A link to the application is located at the bottom of this page. To participate, guests should be in fairly good health both physically and mentally. Keeping the roleplay safe for all who attend is important. We screen the applicants in an attempt to make sure that that we don't have anyone who might be inappropriate, dangerous, or not mentally grounded in reality. In other words, in our jail, the bad guys are not invited. We welcome and encourage people of all genders, races, orientations, and religions to come jail roleplay. We love diversity. All applicants should read everything on this web page, including the rules of conduct, before sending an application.
If you are invited to come, you should do the following to prepare for your visit.
1. Get your transportation set up. Once you know an arrival time and date, let us know so that we can prepare for you. If something comes up and you need to cancel or change the time, please let us know as soon as you can.
2. let us know of any special needs relating to food, religious requirements, health needs, time outs needed for work, or any other considerations we might need to deal with. We are very flexible about pausing the roleplaying when needed in order to meet your needs in the real world. But we need to know those needs before you come so we can plan for it.
3. A few days before you come, check in by text or email just to confirm that everything is still scheduled as planned. We want to eliminate any surprises in case either you or we calendared it incorrectly.
4. The day you come, send a text message to us when you are in Iowa and about an hour or two out. If there are any delays in your flight or other travel problems, let us know so we can plan.
For flying in, there are a few options.
1. The nearest International Airport is Des Moines, Iowa. (DSM) It is a 100 mile drive to Hampton. DSM is serviced by United, American, Delta, Southwest, and Allegiant. There is an airport shuttle service that we recommend. The shuttle service is $120 each way, and accepts cash only. It has to be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. You can also rent a car and drive to the jail. If you are driving, turn north off of Hwy. 3 into the alley behind the jail between Napa Auto Parts.
2. Minneapolis - St. Paul Airport is 165 miles from Hampton. (No shuttle service from there.) But flights into Minneapolis are less expensive than into Des Moines. You would need to rent a car.
3. Mason City Airport. This is a municipal airport that is only 35 miles from Hampton. If you fly into Chicago, you can take a flight on United Airlines to Mason City. This is on a small commuter jet. The air fare is reasonable because it is government subsidized. But there are only two flights per day, so scheduling can be a challenge. If you fly into Mason City, one of our staff members can pick you up at the airport and take you to the jail and back to the airport later as a free service.
Pack light. Separate your medications and things that you will need in the jail into a separate bag so that the intake will go more smoothly. The only thing you will be allowed to have during the jail roleplay is your medications and medical devices such as CPAP devices. You are also allowed to have a book if you want. No other personal items will be allowed unless you let us know of your needs in advance. Your jail inmate uniform, underclothing, bedding, and personal items (toothbrush, soap, towel) are all provided by the facility. Your belongings are kept in a secure location.
Most guests need to use thier mobile devices from time to time. We understand that there is a real world out there that you may still need to be connected with. Guests are permitted to get cell phone time when needed. In order to not interfere with historic role playing, inmate guests are taken out to the intake cell to use thier devices.
As part of the jail roleplaying adventure, simple basic meals are provided to inmates by an outside vendor. If you have a special diet (Diabetic, vegetarian, allergies, etc.) let us know in advance of your visit. The food is basic and similar to what might be served in a jail or prison. Guests say that the food served at the jail is pretty good. No one ever goes hungry. Meals are served on metal trays as when the jail operated.
Because of the age of this historical building, access could be limitted for some guests. The doors (made before 1880) that open into the cells and cell block are only two feet wide. There are low doors, steps, and uneven floors. This may prevent some individuals from full participation in all areas of the facility. We still want to provide as much of an adventure as possible. Let us know your needs.
April 11-14 (Full)
May 10-13 (Full)
May 15-19 (Full)
May 31- June 2 (Full)
June 6-9 (Full)
June 13-16 (Full)
June 28-30 (Full)
August 4-6 (Full)
Aug 24-Sept 1
In this jail roleplay you are pretending to be an inmate who is in detention in jail. You are encouraged to play and make up the background of the character that you are pretending to be. You may choose to resist the person playing the officer. You may choose to be rebellious. Or you may choose to be compliant. You decide and run the story to a great extent. Don't be afraid to "get into your role". You are the star of the jail roleplay. You make it up as you go along. The way that the story goes in the roleplay, and the way that the guards treat you, depends on your behavior. If you play a bad inmate who is resisting or being disrespectful to the officer, you will be treated more severely. You may be put in police restraints or strapped to an emergency restraint chair in the jail. We welcome you to play. We still like to play cops and robbers like we did as children. The jail roleplay will often develop into a "prisoners versus the guards" scenario. It is okay for you to curse at your guard. It is okay to play the bad guy. We will treat you as one. We understand that it is all play and that after we are all done we will shake hands and maybe go out to lunch afterwards. Please do not resist us to the point of excess. We do not want to have anyone hurt. All play needs to be done in a safe way. Safety is more important than the jail roleplay activity. We want your experience to be intense, but safe.
Even though corporal punishment was common place in jails at one time, we do not role play any corporal punishment that involves hitting, slapping, or beatings. However, we do use some of the other methods of punishments that were used. These include, solitary confinement, loss of privileges, and restraints.
In jail roleplaying, we pretend. But it is important that you do not pretend that you are sick, or hurt. We need to know what is real. If you say that you are sick and hurt, we will believe you. If you really are sick or having any physical or mental problems, please make sure that you tell us so that we can make sure that you are safe. If you need to pause or stop the role playing, simply tell a staff member to pause or stop the roleplaying. Then we can deal with any problem or issue that you have. Staff members will stop the roleplay and possibly eject a player from the jail if they are playing unsafe, or if the staff member feels that continuing the players role play adventure would not be safe mentally or physically for that person.
Throughout the day we tend to jump in and out of the jail roleplaying. You stay locked up as an inmate, but we often end up having some interesting conversations. It is considered a safe place for people to be open and honest with their feelings with like minded folks.
1. All role playing must be safe and sane.
2. No illegal activities are allowed at the facility.
3. No inappropriate sexual conduct. This includes any activity that might be considered as being "adult entertainment" by local zoning regulations.
4. No activity that would involve personal fluid transfer of germs such as spitting.
5. No overly aggressive physical contact is permitted. We don't want anyone getting hurt.
6. No illegal substances are allowed on property. (Cannabis is illegal in Iowa)
7. No pornographic materials are allowed.
8. No tobacco products of any kind are allowed in the building. If you need to smoke or use tobacco, you can request to be taken outside to the yard.
9. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.
looking at the cell block from the Booking Room
Two person cell
Solitary Confinement Cell
The cell block includes three cells
The recreation yard (on the right)
Going to the recreation yard is optional
Secured inmates on their way to the yard
Flush toilets are located in the intake cell, inner cell block, and shower area. The three cells have no plumbing but are are provided with portable toilets. The doors are only 2 feet wide and have a low head clearance. There is a step down into the Outer cell block. There are two steps up to the secure shower room. There is an outside ramp to the recreation yard and jail entrance that is handicap accessible. There is also a handicap accessible restroom in the former Sheriff's house on the main floor. The courtroom is located to the left of the Jail intake room in the former Sheriff's house in the former Parlor.
Going to jail as a group is always the most fun.