From his first day working in a prison until his last after 30 years, David Meyers said, he was fascinated by Ohio's system.
After collecting volumes of notes from the Ohio State Reformatory, the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus and the Boys' Industrial School in Lancaster, the Columbus man decided to write a book.
"Central Ohio's Historic Prisons," was recently released through Arcadia Publishing.
The venture was an opportunity to clear up misconceptions about the prison system. It also offered the chance to work on a project with his daughter, Elise.
"I got involved for a number of reasons, but primarily, I always found prisons interesting," said Elise Meyers, 26. "I never had a desire to work in them, but I mean, it was my dad's job. I went to take-your-daughter-to-work day and from just what I learned from my dad, I grew up knowing more about prisons than most people.
"I find the psychology of it to be very different. It's a completely different culture amongst the employees and inmates, and I don't think many people see that."
Elise took on the role of researcher.
Her father was even closer to the work.
"My first job out of college was working at OSR in 1970 and 1971, and then I came down to Columbus and worked in the juvenile correction prison until 1972 and then went to Ohio State Penitentiary," David said. "OSR was a fascinating place architecturally. All of our furniture was antique. I started collecting information about it as soon as I started working there, and I collected some at the others I worked at."
David said readers should find the book informative and enjoyable.
When they opened during the 19th century, all three prisons were regarded as the best the nation had to offer. By the time they closed, all had been condemned.
"We debunk a lot of myths," David said. "You can read it and be pretty confident that what I say is true -- but it's also pretty entertaining. You get a good feel for what life was like in them."
For Elise, clearing up misconceptions is important.
"I'll be at the movies where there's a prison featured and I'll say, 'That could never ever happen,' but most people will watch it and say, 'Oh that must be right,' " she said. "I think people should read this just to inform themselves and become more aware."
"Central Ohio's Historic Prisons" can be purchased on Amazon.com, arcadiapublishing.com and, soon, in local book stores.
"The experience was really fun," Elise said of co-authoring the book with her father. "We got along really well and are already talking about writing more books."