Stephen King Wiki
Stephen King Wiki

The administration building for Shawshank State Prison.

The Shawshank State Prison is a penitentiary in Maine. It is the main setting for "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (and the subsequent film adaptation The Shawshank Redemption) as well as a major location in the Castle Rock television series.


"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"

In 1947, Andy Dufresne is convicted for the double murder of his wife and her lover and sentenced to a double life sentence at Shawshank State Prison. Andy maintains his innocence, claiming he did not carry out the crime. Inside he meets Red, who smuggles in contraband from outside the prison. Andy asks Red to provide him with a rock hammer and a large poster of Rita Hayworth.

As a former banker, Andy begins advising guards on taxation matters, and eventually comes to the attention of the governor, Samuel Norton. He uses Andy's skills to launder money from a program he runs where he provides prison labor to do outside work. Since Norton pays the inmates "slave wages," outside businesses cannot compete with him so they bribe him to not bid on contract.

Andy learns that another prisoner has admitting to killing two people who could be his wife and her lover. He approaches the Warden about the information which could lead to a new trial and freedom, but Norton feels that Andy is too useful to him and knows too much about his criminal activities and does not take the story seriously.

In 1975, Andy escapes from his locked cell. Over the course of 28 years, he had patiently excavated a tunnel through the wall of his cell using the rock hammer, hiding it from view using a variety of posters procured by Red. Once through the wall, Andy broke into a sewage pipe and used it to get past the prison's perimeter.

Castle Rock

During the 1980s, a fire in Block F caused the deaths of several inmates. Since then, the block was closed down and fell into disuse.

In 1991, Warden Dale Lacy constructed a cage in a water cistern below Block F to hold a mysterious prisoner who he believed was responsible for all the ills that had befallen Castle Rock, Maine.

In 2018, Shawshank State Prison is sold to a private concern, Northwest Correctional and Warden Lacy was set to retire. On his last day of work, however, he commits suicide. The new warden, Theresa Porter orders that Block F is to be reopened to accommodate more inmates. During the investigation into the block, officer Dennis Zalewski discovers the prisoner that Warden Lacy locked in a cage. The discovery leads to the prison trying to cover up the fact that Warden Lacy kept a secret off-the-books prisoner in the facility. The prisoner does not speak except to say the name "Henry Matthew Deaver".

Warden Porter refuses to call Henry and wants to continue to cover up the prisoner's existence, but Dennis Zalewski – long disgusted by the prison's treatment of its inmates – calls Henry anonymously, leading to the lawyer's return to Castle Rock.

The prisoner is moved into the general prison population; his cell mate mysteriously dies of cancer shortly afterward. Henry is denied access to the prisoner; Henry has no name for the prisoner, and Warden Porter makes him sift through a book of prison records to identify his potential client. Since he does not recognize anyone, Henry is forced to leave. A later chance meeting with Dennis in a bar allows him to meet the prisoner through the fence in the prison yard.

Eventually word gets out that the prisoner exists, forcing the prison officials to meet with Henry. They offer the prisoner a paltry settlement dependent on him signing a NDA. Henry knows that his client could get a lot more from the prison and plans to advise him not to settle. Dennis wants to use the situation to bring down the corruption in Shawshank, but Henry only wants to focus on his client.

After a personal revelation, Henry decides to return to Texas and calls Dennis to advise the prisoner to take the deal. Angry, and possibly under the influence of the mysterious prisoner, Dennis starts shooting his fellow guards before being killed himself. The fallout of the incident forces Shawshank to release the prisoner, placing him in Henry Deaver's care until room at Juniper Hill Asylum could be arranged.


In the film adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption, it is filmed at the Mansfield State Reformatory in Ohio, which is a stand-in for the fictional prison.