Everyone, well, almost everyone, has heard of Leavenworth Prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. One person who really wanted to see Leavenworth Prison, was my late sister-in-law, my good friend, Margi Capehart.

So, in 1995 when she and her husband, Jim visited us in Kansas City, she made known her desire to see the prison.  “I’ve studied and heard about Leavenworth all my life,” she said, “and would like to see it.”  “No problem,” I told her, “it’s not very far from where we live.”  I had more good news for her. “Margi,” I said, “not only can we see the prison, but I’ve heard we can take a tour.  Inside! Imagine!” Although a little apprehensive she was nonetheless excited.  Besides, I assured her it would be a snap.

Cameras in hand and fully loaded we set out for Leavenworth, Kansas.  My husband, Bill, and his brother, Jim in the front seat, Margi and I in the back.  They poked fun at us for wanting to go to prison. Okay, let them have their fun.  After all, they were escorting us to our desired destination.  We were going to tour the prison, Margi had always read about and wanted to visit.

By now you’re probably thinking, these people cannot possibly tour a maximum security prison.  Are these women just plain crazy? No! No! No!  We were not daft or deranged, just adventurous, and curious, yeah, really curious. And, besides, someone at work had told me about the tours.

The drive ended, Leavenworth loomed within our vision. We turned off the highway, and onto a long narrow road to the entrance; Well, not exactly to the entrance, but to a very tall tower at the end of the narrow road.  At car level there was a speaker attached to a post.  A booming voice, loud and clear, came from the contraption, “State your business.”

“We’ve come for the tour,” I instructed my husband to tell him.  “There is no tour, unless you’ve come to visit an inmate, turn your car around and leave!”  He sounded like he meant it, but I was still hopeful.  I rolled my eyes, “Ask him if he’s sure?” My husband shook his head.  “Well, ask him if we can at least get out and take some pictures.” I wanted Margi to have a memento, of her visit to Leavenworth.  The question was asked by my husband under duress from the back seat.

“NO!” The guard said, from the big tower with a big gun in his hand. “You can take pictures from the other side of the highway.”  “LEAVE NOW!!”

“Touchy, isn’t he?” Margi and I said in unison.  Our husbands laughed and turned the car around.  They also had the nerve to say, “A person should never say, no problem.”  Very funny!  Margi and I decided, the moral to this story was, you gotta’ know some one INSIDE to get INSIDE Leavenworth.  By the way, we did take pictures from the other side of the highway – here’s one of Margi.


  1. This story is so funny! I’m so glad I found it because my in laws are coming this weekend and we thought you could tour the prison too! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the laugh!