Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The prisoners on July 1, 1876. These

The Yuma Territorial Prison had its first prisoners on July 1, 1876. These prisoners had stayed in cells that they had built themselves. The prison was a 25,000$ budget project for the legislature. It’s located about three miles west from the colorado river. There were 111 people who had died in the prison, out of those people who had died while at the prison most of them was because of tuberculosis a bacterial infection that affects your lungs and can have minor side effects but is easily treated. The other reasons for the deaths of some of the prisoners was because of natural causes very died violently, 17% died from other reasons than tuberculosis or normal causes like suicide, homicide, trying to escape and one from being executed by the yuma county. The prison had a total of 3,069 prisoners imprisoned from 21 different countries including Mexico, China, Russia, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, and England, 29 of them were women. The majority of the prison was aged from 20-30 years old, were from the united states or canada and were single not married. They had prisoners as young as 14 and the oldest 88 years old. In 1907 the prison started to get over crowded and there was no more room for the convicts, the prisoners built a new facility in Florence, Arizona and on August 29, 1909 the last prisoner had been transferred to the new prison, his name was C.J. Jackson, #3069 he was convicted of adultery and was sentenced to prison for three years. The Prison had more appliances and was way more convenient than most of the homes in yuma. They had electricity, air conditioning, two bathtubs and three showers, a library were the prisoners could go pick from one of over 2,000 books, and had its own band called the Yuma Prison Band. The prison even had its even had its own school soon after it closed called Yuma High School. The original school had burned down in 1910 so they had adopted the prison as its school, they had the classes in the cells of the prison for three years. They had even started a football team called the Yuma Criminals. In 1913 the city had built a new school for the criminals because they needed the prison for a city jail. At first the criminals seemed like a fighting word, but the students and the staff took pride in the name so in 1917 the school board officially claimed them as the Yuma Criminals. For eight years they only had one building called the main, but in 1921 they had finally built a cafeteria and an ag shop, then two years later they added a snider and the gymnasium. There were lots of different reasons that people had went to the Yuma Territorial Prison. Some people for having more than one wife and others because of murder. One girl out of the 29 girls in the prison at the age of 16 had went to the prison because she had shot her brother after he had said that he didn’t like the way she was dancing, this girls name was Mariah Moreno after she had got angry that he said that he told her “so shoot me then” and she actually did. Another girl named Elera Estrada had found out that her significant other was being unfaithful so she had cut his heart out and threw it in his face, in court she had tried to say that he fell on the knife but she was found guilty and sentenced to the prison for seven years. Two people named Pearl Hart and Joe Boot who were partners had committed the last stagecoach robbery  in Arizona and were caught shortly after. Joe was sentenced to prison for 30 years, Pearl had only got five years but while she was in prison she used her feminine ways toward the guards and other prisoners and got out within two years. The prison was very strict gambling, fighting, weapons, and not bathing were all prohibited. If you broke one of these rules you would be sent to the dark cell. This cell was a ten-foot by ten- foot cell thought to be haunted. The prisoners that were sent to the dark cell were often stripped down to there underwear and their legs were shackled to two ringbolts the cell was pitch black and they were put in with snakes and scorpions by the security guards. These prisoners would only get one meal a day which consisted of bread and water only. Two prisoner who were put in this cell after release were insane and were sent to an insane asylum. There are three cells in the prison that are know to be haunted. The first one is the dark cell, this cell is haunted by a little girl who likes to poke, pinch, and touch other people with her icy cold fingers. She also seems to be attracted to children and the color red, her family had lived in the prison in the 30s after the closure of the prison then during the great depression the little girl died in the prison. The second room is cell #14, this cell had a prisoner name John Ryan who was in jail because he was a sex offender who raped someone. He had stayed in the prison were neither the security guards or other inmates liked him. John then commited suicide in his cell right before his sentence was about to end and seems to haunt it ever since. The third cell has been walled up as it used to hold prisoners that were insane. There has even been an occasion were one time one of the officers had seen a pile of coins lift in the air and drop down back on the register. There are lots of strange and knowingly haunted things that happen at this prison as to why some places are oldly colder than others, lights turned off or on that weren’t before, doors opened that are locked or supposed to be closed, weird noises throughout some cells in the prison. Every prisoner who was sent to the Yuma Territorial Prison was photographed and had been given a bath then got issued a set of clothes which included a jacket, a hat or cap, two pairs of socks, a pair of shoes, two towels, and two pairs of trousers. Then each inmates were assigned a number and the guards had to fill out a description of convict which was like a personal information form which had their name, age, background and personal traits. The guards would also take notes of the prisoners, there habits, what they liked, and if they had changed within weeks or months. They would note if a prisoner had a tattoo which they had called an “indian ink mark” , if they had scars as in gun shot wounds, cuts, and other permanent marks. If a woman had scars it was most likely signs of abuse. Another thing they noticed was your dental records if you had good teeth or bad teeth they would put either good, bad, poor, black in some cases one or few of their teeth would be missing so they would take note of that too. Out of all the people who had tried to escape from the prison, only 26 of them successfully escaped, and the other 8 people who tried to escape died from gunshot wounds that were shot by the guards. In 1924 the Southern Pacific Railroad destroyed one third of the prison to make new train tracks so in the late 20s to 30s homeless people live in the prison for shelter during the great depression. Then in 1939 the city wanted to preserve the prison as a museum so they started fundraising and the city constructed the museum until 1960. On October 4, 1960 the city of yuma had sold the Yuma Territorial Prison to the Park Boards for one dollar and on January 1, 1961 the prison had opened as an official State Historic Park and Clarisa Windsor was the first Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park manager. The Yuma Territorial Prison had changed the city of yuma and how people thought of it, before the prison we were just some small sketch town that had a dangerous and unsafe reputation, but after the prison was constructed and locked up the murders and thieves the city was felt secure and is now an important part of our history and not only the city of yuma but Arizona as it is now a State Park.


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