Yuma Territorial Prison Have you ever wondered what it was like for the inmates in a prison cell? It was not fun, they weren’t tortured but they did go through a lot. Yuma Arizona, a dry desert area ,had something very important in its territory. That was The Yuma Territorial Prison, Yuma biggest story to talk about. Having the prison guards not liking them and being cruel to them.
The prison affected the growth of Yuma because it brought people to Yuma Arizona. To populate, live and to expand the well being of Yuma. The prison was also very important for other reasons. Did you know there was a reason why the prison is where it is? well that is because it is surrounded by two bodies of water.
The Gila River to the east and the Colorado River to the north, the town to the west and the dry desert to the south! Have you ever wondered why the prison was so important to Yuma? The prison was important because it brought jobs to yuma, it was used for other things besides a prison and for being a big impact on Yuma.One major reason Yuma was significant because of the prison was for bring jobs over . When the prison was built they needed people to work as security guards . Having people move to Yuma brought jobs which had people relocate from where they were originally from to Yuma.The Yuma Territorial Prison provided 89 jobs when it first opened for the people in Yuma Arizona.
Actors came down to Yuma Arizona to produce a film. While people came down to visit, they would stop by and pay a visit at the jail. “3:10 to Yuma” the Hollywood film about an inmate named Duke Donovan.
About how a bank robbery went wrong . During World War II the prison was used to produce films for western movies. Immigrants started initiating to Yuma during the California Gold Fields of 1849. By 1858 Yuma became a success! The Gold Rush hit the Colorado River. Officially in 1871 we were Yuma County. From having the gold rush reach the colorado river, it had many people stay in Yuma to work . Which did bring jobs, and while yuma was still becoming a town , and having them relocate to work did have the town booming with success!The Yuma Territorial Prison was not just used as a prison. There was a point in time when the prison was overcrowding.
So They had to take the inmates to a different prison in Florence Arizona. Where prisoners also built there prison. As a result of the prison being overcrowded and not being used, it got used as a high school. The original Yuma High School had burned down so they had rented to use the prison for about four years. Since then, they were considered “The Criminals”. After the school was done using the prison in 1914, the hospital had began using it from 1914 through 1923.
The prison was used for many things! By 1924 veterans of foreign wars began to use it as a clubhouse. Homeless people from the 1920’s to 1930’s were able to live in the cells. Homeless families included lived in cells because the great depression was happening at this time. Now it’s used as a museum since 1960, anyone can go and visit the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Yuma is well known for its prison that was considered the best out of all prisons in 1876. Thankfully for the prison, Yuma was a great success, not only for helping people in need but for being a tourist spot. The Yuma Territorial Prison did have very strict rules for the prisoners. Many tried to escape, many failed. Most of the inmates were afraid to escape from the facility because of their high tech machine gun on the watchtower.
Did you know the prison was considered as the “Country Club on the Colorado”? Well, this is because the prison had some great utilities such as flushing toilets, sewer system, and an air system! For being an inhumane prison , they had it good their. Not only did the prison benefit itself for its marvaless utilities , the prison did help out the small town everyday by giving them electricity around 9 p.m.
The prison had held more than 3,000 prisoners, and 29 of those included women. When it came to rules, there was harsh punishments waiting if you decided to disobey the rules! The worst punishment you could of received was being put in solitary confinement. Also known as the Dark Cell! Once you’re put into the cell, you’re in there for quite awhile! With little food and little water. Depending who the prisoner was, and if the guard disliked you, there was a possible chance of a guard throwing a snake or scorpion in the cell with you! The cell wasn’t very roomy , a 15 by 15 foot room with an iron cage where the prisoner would stay at.
It did hold inmates who committed murder, grand larceny and polygamy. Ever wondered how long a prisoner was sentenced to serve their time? An inmate named C.J. Jackson was the last inmate to attend the prison. He committed adultery and had to serve three years in the prison. He had been sent to the Yuma Territorial Prison on July 20, 1909.
Because of the overcrowding of the prison he was sent to Florence Arizona prison on August 29, 1909. The new prison that inmates built as well did not have the so called “Hell Hole” . Instead they had created a death chamber! When a prisoner was admitted to the death chamber, they would be hung and their bodies would hang into a room under them. All in all, The Yuma Territorial Prison was very important not just because it brought jobs which made Yuma big, but by using the prison for many other important reasons and also for being an important part of Yuma Arizona.
The Yuma Territorial Prison held 3,069 prisoners. One hundred eleven of the inmates died while they were serving their time in prison. Out of the 3,069 inmates, twenty- six out of the many who tried to escape, escaped. Till this day, the Yuma Territorial Prison is open as a museum, owned by the Arizona State Parks. The Yuma Territorial Prison is the most popular hotspot in Yuma. Many people do come visit for its interesting history the prison holds.
From the very first seven prisoners building the prison, to having thousands of prisoners living in the prison. To having the prison help hundreds of people that needed help , to having the students be known as the “criminals” . And now becoming a museum that gives Yuma Arizona a title.