Yuma Territorial Prison

Yuma Territorial Prison
1876 – 1909 and Beyond
Why the Prison was built?
County prisons were found unsafe.
They were easy to breakout of.
– Legislature authorized $25,000 for the
building of the prison
First Prisoners
Criminals were sent to Yuma to
build the prison.
After Prison was built those
prisoners stayed to become the
first inmates.
Model of Prison
Opinion of Prison
Yuma Citizens
– “Country Club on the Colorado River”
– “Hell Hole”
Modern Hospital w/ Dental
Blowers to blow cool air
Library which taught:
– Reading
– Writing
– Arithmetic
– German and Spanish
– Music (Prison Band)
Life in a Cell
6 to a cell
Bucket as a bathroom
Roach Infested
Bath 1 a week
– Lice
– Bed bugs
Reasons to be sent to Yuma
Funny Funny Funny
One man was sent to prison
because he seduced a women by
making her think he would marry
Women at Yuma
 29 women in total
 Pearl Hart
Most famous criminal
Robbed Stage Coach
Bad Criminal and Bad Actor after prison.
Newspapers made her more famous by
embellishing stories of her.
 Maria Moreno
– Shot her brother for complaining about how
she danced
Pearl Hart
No Making Weapons
No Gambling
No Fighting
No Littering
Required to take a bath
Ball and Chain
Dark Cell
– Cut 15 ft. into hillside.
– Cage in middle
– Chained to cage
– Completely dark
– Feed Bread and Water
– Didn’t care how cramped it was
Dark Cell
140 attempts
26 successful
111 deaths at prison
– 4 buried in prison cemetery
– 46 = Consumption (TB)
– 8 shot = attempting to escape
– 2 = falling rocks
– 2 = rattlesnake bites
– Several Suicides
– Several Murders
Closure (1909)
Prison was Overcrowded
Larger prison was built in Florence
Since Closure
Local High School
– Yuma High
– Booooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
Homeless Shelter
Movie Set
– Floods
– Theft
– Building Ocean to Ocean Bridge
Yuma High
Yuma High Class of 1911
“3:10 to Yuma” 1957 Glenn Ford
 “26 Men” 1957 Tristram Coffin
 “Rawhide” 1959 Clint Eastwood
 “The Comancheros” 1961 John Wayne
 Mentioned on such shows as
“Gunsmoke” “The Rifleman” and
 “The Wild Bunch” 1969 Albert Dekker
and Robert Ryan
Prison Today
1941 turned into Museum
1961 made a state park and is still
currently a state park
Directions: Answer the following
questions in complete sentences.
1. Name a minimum of 3 items that
occupied/used the prison after it
was closed.
2. How many attempted an escape
from the prison? How many people
were successful in escaping from
the prison? What percentage of
people were successful?
More Questions
3. Name 3 famous actors who
starred in films that took place at
the prison.
4. Why was one of the rules at the
prison for all inmates to take a
weekly bath?
5. Why did the Prison close down?
More Questions
6. The Yuma Territorial Prison is
much smaller today then it was 100
years ago. What has caused the
prison to shrink in size?
7. Explain what you believe was
going through the heads of the
inmates who were housed in the
Dark Cell.
More Questions
8. Who built the prison and what
happened to these men after the
prison was built?
9. Name two women housed at the
prison and what crimes they
10. What made the prison one of
the most modern prisons of the
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