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Mansfield Reformatory Inmate | What it was like?

Ghost Guide Daniel – – No matter how see it today, Mansfield Reformatory was designed around the hope (by architect Levi Scofield). Makes you think it’d be great to be an inmate.

Designed for spiritual uplift. Hence being called a Reformatory… aka for reform. They wanted the men to become better members of society.

Proving, “…the road to hell is paved with good intentions…”

Looking for Ghost Stories? Try…
Mansfield | A Collection of Ghost Stories
Ghost Guide Daniel Reads the Article

In this article expect violence, death & questioned sanity! Reader discretion is advised…

Punishment Leads to Death

It’s 1957. A riot started by a Mansfield Reformatory inmate, pushed 120 prisoners to go crazy. Then the guards get it under control.

Punishments needed to be harsh. As a way to deter more riots, they shoved 120 men into 20 solitary confinement cells.

Each cell made for 1 man.  They stuffed 6 people into each space. Left in complete darkness… for an entire month!

Dark History of “The Hole”


This is a place known as Local Control, or Solitary. It’s very isolated, and can break the toughest of inmates. However, no one’s truly alone when Death hangs over them.

History tells stories of…

  1. One inmate managed to successfully hang himself. Doesn’t include the many failed attempts, not kept on record.
  2. An inmate set himself on fire.

And then there’s after the riot. In the confusion, the Guards put 2 of the most violent Mansfield Reformatory inmate s into the same tiny cell.

The month went by. The prisoners more quiet than they expected. Did this break them? Nope… something happened inside “The Hole” disturbing the men into quiet.

The Guards later opened the one cell to find only 5 men inside.  They found the 6th. Neatly stuffed under the bed.

Burning of James Lockhart

Haunted Cell #13

They put James Lockhart in cell #13 on the fourth level. On the north side of East Block. 

And one day he stole a bottle of paint thinner from the prison furniture shop.

Mansfield Reformatory via the Cleveland Memory Project (Mansfield Library) | 6 level Cell Block
World’s Tallest Cell-blocks (6-levels)

When back in his cell, James quietly poured it over his head, coating his body. As his neighbor yelled, “What are you doing?”

Then, James lit a match. 

Guards knew the moment it happened. The man in neighboring Cell #14 started screaming.  Flames shot out into #13 cell, singing the neighbor’s skin.  Having to scoop water from the sink to stave off burns.

Guards helplessly watched from a distance as the fire burned itself out. Leaving behind a blackened lump that was once James Lockhart. Now melted into the cell floor.

Ghost Hunter standing inside James’ cell #13

The Mysterious Suicide of Larry Harmer

We don’t know why. But in 1974 an inmate named Larry Harmer wanted to die. 

He had a light sentence of only one year inside Mansfield, for damaging property during a break-in.

It happened one week before they transferred Larry.

He pulled the sheets off his bed and rolled them tight. Tied one end to the towel rack and wrapped the other around his neck.

Followed by a sharp drop to the floor.  Gravity did the rest.

Why’d Larry do it? 

Nobody knows. 

Here’s my guess… maybe someone was waiting for him at the other prison.  Fear of violent revenge is a great motivator.

Larry choose death.

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4 replies on “Mansfield Reformatory Inmate | What it was like?”

#96780-G.W.F.-aggr. Robbery.4-25 sentence in 1974? 5th. Floor east block. Later,😗 to Grafton honor farm! (SWEET)total 39 months. I ain’t mad! Learned a lot. Weed was big in dem days! And I happened to be da ‘Man’! Of course I had the ‘Honor’ status. Beatiful. (AS FAR AS BIDS WERE CONCERNED!) (see ya)😉

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