First State Prison San Quentin Essay

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The First State Prison San Quentin
Imagine a time where there weren’t prisons. A time when criminals were not incarcerated and just roamed freely. Well when California became a state in 1850 numerous people were rushing to the newly found state seeking the new opportunities and the gold rush. Well with that along came the criminals. They required a place to incarcerate criminals and that was first met on prisons ships. However, the prison ships wouldn’t suffice.
San Francisco, as a frontier town and port of entry for those looking to head to the gold fields in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, was highly populated with people seeking the gold treasure. In addition to that, thieves, scoundrels and other criminals arrived. The jail in the …show more content…

Many sources indicated this ship, like many others was abandoned in the bay and the crew had fled for the gold fields in the foothills. This ship would be considered the first state prison ship. The first order of business was moving the ship. They quickly settled on a location off Point San Quentin in Marin County. After relocating the Waban state prison ship, the leaders opted for a for a permanent prison, rather than a ship. In 1852, their wish was granted and the state purchased 20 acres of land at San Quentin for $10,000. The Waban arrived on July 14, 1852 with about 40 to 50 convicted criminals. There, they began to work on building the prison. On Oct. 12, 1852, a “contract was let for the first cell building.” The first permanent prison was completed in 1854. Inmates slept on the ship at night and worked to construct the prison during the day. The Waban originally held men, women, and since there was no reform school for the youth, some boys as young as 12 years old. It wasn’t until 1933 that a prison was opened for women. The practice of awarding contracts to individuals to run prisons wasn’t new. The method was common in the Midwest and South. In 1825, Kentucky prison authorities used the method in developing their prison at Frankfurt. The same system was also used in Missouri, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. Now that we had a prison, who would manage

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