Blackgate Penitentiary is a fictional prison depicted in the DC Universe, traditionally located on a small island in the Gotham Bay, Gotham City. Batman: The Long Halloween suggests that it was preceded by Gotham State Penitentiary, which appeared often in pre-Crisis comics.


Gotham State Penitentiary is also known as Gotham Prison, especially when referenced after the Crisis. It is later officially renamed "Blackgate Prison". In the late 1980s, Blackgate Prison is condemned by Amnesty International and forced to shut down. When the prison eventually re-opens, it is officially known as "Blackgate Penitentiary".

Unlike Arkham Asylum, Blackgate is where non-insane criminals such as Catman, David Cain, Monsoon, Ernie Chubb, KGBeast and various henchmen, mobsters, and mafia bosses are incarcerated when captured. The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Clayface II (Matt Hagen), the Ventriloquist, Mr. Zsasz, Firefly, Calendar Man, Rupert Thorne and Bane are the only criminals that have done time in both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Penitentiary.

There are instances where inmates from Arkham Asylum are temporarily moved to Blackgate, like when Bane destroys the original Arkham building in Batman #491. All of the Arkham inmates are incarcerated in Blackgate until the new Arkham structure is built and opened in Batman #521.

There is a one-shot about a breakout happening in the prison entitled Batman: Blackgate. The prisoners in the story are Cluemaster, Steeljacket, Ratcatcher, The Trigger Twins, Dragoncat, Gunhawk, Czonka (The Baffler), Actuary, and others. Several of these villains are also featured in the Cataclysm storyline when an earthquake and the resulting tidal waves damage the prison and open up a land bridge to Gotham. This allows the majority of the inmates of Blackgate to escape.

Known Inmates

In other media


  • In Christopher Nolan's 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, the mercenary Bane liberates the criminals "wrongfully imprisoned" at Blackgate Penitentiary by Commissioner Jim Gordon under the Dent Act and uses them in his army.


Video Games

  • In the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, Blackgate Penitentiary is referenced as having been burned down by a 'mysterious' fire, implied in the game's viral marketing campaign as well as Boles' reaction to Joker's implication that the fire at Blackgate was no accident to have been started by corrupted Arkham Asylum security guard Frank Boles, as part of the Joker's plan to have hordes of convicts shipped to the asylum while the penitentiary facility is reconstructed. The Joker plans to recruit the convicts in a brutal takeover of Arkham, since the asylum's maddened patients are far from model henchmen. In Batman: Arkham City, rumors claim Blackgate has been turned into a shopping mall, but by the end of the game it appears the criminals are being transferred back to the prison, proving the rumors false.
  • See: Blackgate Prison (Batman: Arkham Origins)
  • Blackgate is the main location in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.


  • In the novel Batman: The Ultimate Evil, author Andrew Vachss refers to a "Hellgate Prison".