Like its predecessor Gotham State Penitentiary (also known as Gotham Prison), Blackgate Penitentiary is also located in Gotham City, though on a small island in Gotham Bay. Before the early 1990's and the Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc, Gotham State Penitentiary was the main correctional facility used to house non-criminally insane inmates in Gotham City. Those criminals in Gotham who are deemed to be mentally insane are sent to Arkham Asylum. However, sometime during the late 1980's Gotham State Penitentiary was judged uninhabitable and condemned by the organization Amnesty International. Forced to close its doors, following the Crisis the prison was reopened and from that point on known as Blackgate Penitentiary. A short time later Gotham Prison was left unused.
There have been a few instances when all the inmates in Arkham Asylum have had to be moved to Blackgate Penitentiary due to the former being destroyed, one time by Bane. In addition, the inmates remain in Blackgate Penitentiary until a new Arkham Asylum can be built.
Blackgate Penitentiary was erected at some point in the late 19th century on Blackgate Isle. A group of followers of the Religion of Crime set up base in the manor on Blackgate Isle during this period, with goals of conquering Gotham City, only to encounter Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham.
Inmates who have been incarcerated in Blackgate Penitentiary (Alphabetically)
Major Story Arcs
For full arc summary see: Cataclysm
Blackgate Penitentiary is damaged when by an earthquake, the damage is so severe that a land bridge is formed between Gotham City and Blackgate. Many of the prisoners within Blackgate are allowed to escape back to civilization.
No Man's Land
For full arc summary see: No Man's Land
Blackgate Penitentiary is taken over by Lock-Up, in response to this Nightwing attempts to free the penitentiary from his control but is unsuccessful and captured.
For full plot summary see: Batman: Blackgate
A breakout occurs inside Blackgate Penitentiary, Batman must go inside the prison to put an end to it.
Batman: The Ultimate Evil
A Hellgate Prison is referenced, which could the same or similar to Blackgate Penitentiary.
[Note: For full plot summary of this book see Batman's page]
The Dark Knight Rises
Blackgate Penitentiary features in the 2012 film directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises. Bane feels that the prison is a landmark in Gotham and symbol of oppression, that those inside were unjustly put there due to the Dent Act, so he blows up the entrance and releases all of the prisoners inside. Various murderers, thieves, mobsters, and Selina Kyle are thrust out onto the street.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
The plot of this game centers around Blackgate Penitentiary having a fire break out inside it, thus forcing most of the prisons occupants to be moved to Arkham Asylum until Blackgate can be repaired. In actuality, the Joker staged the entire fire, in order to gain more henchmen to assist him in his plan, and to fight against Batman should the hero cause any problems. The inmates transferred over from Blackgate are the most numerous and commonly encountered foes in the game, both as ordinary prisoners or subjects that Joker tests with the Titan Compound.
Batman: Arkham City
Blackgate Penitentiary is rumored to still be under construction or at the very least unsuitable for inmates. Throughout the course of the game some of the prisoners within Arkham talk about rumors that Blackgate has been remodeled into a shopping mall, though these rumors are never confirmed or denied and are more than likely just gossip between the inmates. As in the previous game, inmates from Blackgate are the basic foot soldiers to various villains in the game such as Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, and Joker. Batman is able to converse with and gain information from the Blackgate prisoners, and at one point in the game certain information is essential to continuing the story. A few of the prisoners working for the Riddler have to be interrogated to open up Riddler's Challenge Maps and progress further along the game.