The Early Years Of The Yuma Territorial Prison

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What was life in prison like for an inmate in Yuma during the early years of The Yuma Territorial prison? Only a few can answer that question, but the territorial prison was not only a prison. It was what many people called “the hell hole” for many reasons. At the prison, weapons, gambling and fighting were prohibited and for those who did not follow the rules they were punished by being forced to wear the ball of chain or even got sent to what they called the dark cell. Dark cell was a room about 15 feet by 15 feet and contained a iron cage in which the prisoners would be locked. Their crimes ranged from murder to polygamy, with grand larceny being the most common. the yuma territorial prison was significant to yuma arizona because it plays …show more content…

111 prisoners died during the time they served their sentences, most of them from tuberculosis, which was passing through the territory. There were no executions in the prison. The only punishments was the dark cell for inmates who broke prison regulations (they were chained to the stone floor) and the ball and chain for those who tried to escape. Prisoners had access to regular medical attention and to hospital, access to schooling, and many of them learned to read and write in the prison... Out of most of the prisons in the late 1800’s, the Yuma Territorial Prison was one of the most unsanitary and awful prisons. Alcatraz, a famous prison built in 1934, was a 22 acre island. Alcatraz held more famous prisoners like Al Capone, Bernard Coy, Sam Shockley, and many more.the first 7 prisoners at the yuma territorial prison stayed in cells that they had built …show more content…

It is not hard to understand why Yuma was chosen as place for the prison. In the territorial days Yuma was the hottest and driest place where the settlers chose to build theirs homes. It was 170 miles of nothing to San Diego and 220 miles to Tucson in another direction, and that made Yuma one of most isolated places in Arizona. The Territorial Prison, also known as "Hell Hole" and "Devil's Island" opened in the Arizona desert on July 1, 1876 when the first 7 inmates entered the prison and they were locked into the new cells they built themselves. All over the country the prisoners were sent to Yuma and placed in the cells which were 3x3 meters where the temperature was almost over 110ºF in the summer and where the prisoners were chained to the stone floors and walls in the dark cells. The town of Yuma benefited from the prison because they were able to purchase electricity after 9 p.m. every night which was a big advancement for such a small town. The prison the visitors see today is only a portion, much of the perimeter walls and some cells have been destroyed due to scavenging of materials. After the kast inmates were moved, the prison was abandoned. The Yuma school district needed facilities for a highschool and in spite of parental protests, the high school was located among other prison facilities. Till this day, because of the

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