Although the bill was passed construction did not begin.
Although the bill was passed construction did not begin. Later in the Eighth Territorial Legislature proposed another bill calling for the establishment of a penitentiary. Oury introduced the legislation which would have placed the Territorial Prison in the Phoenix area but representatives from Yuma, Jose Maria Rendondo and R.
Safford signed the bill, resulting in the Territorial Prison built in Yuma. Between the years of and the Yuma Territorial Prison held some of the most notorious desperados of the old southwest. A resident of Yuma, A. The land for the construction of the prison was donated to the Territory by the village of Yuma and the work was soon underway.
On February 18, a ceremony was held on Prison Hill which celebrated the laying of the cornerstone. On July 1, seven convicts were led up to Prison Hill and were placed in the quarters they helped build.
Female convicts were incarcerated at the Prison beginning on November 11, The men and women serving time at the prison also represented a number of trades and occupations. There were prostitutes, carpenters, cooks, farmers, gamblers, wheelwrights, sailors, and laborers. The age span in the Yuma Territorial Prison ranged from 14 to 88 years and also represented virtually every ethnic and religious background.
Many women were inmates but, they were quickly pardoned by the governor. Of that number prisoners died while incarcerated. Many of them are buried in the prison cemetery to the east of the prison. Typhus, Scarlet Fever, and Smallpox due to unsanitary conditions present during that time.
Although the prison was clean and had a clean source of drinking water, the town did not. It was an old myth popularized by dime novels and Western movies that no prisoner ever escaped from the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Twenty-six convicts escaped from the Prison and were never captured, and at least two of these escapes were made within the confines of the prison walls. Prison guard positions were highly sought after, but the only way get a job was to know someone. Various punishments were used within the prison walls to ensure discipline was maintained in the prison population.
The most notorious of these punishments was the Dark Cell. Dug into the caliche hillside, the dark cell was a room about 10 feet by 10 feet and contained an iron cage in which the prisoners would be locked. The only light came from a small ventilation shaft in the ceiling and contact with other people was forbidden. Bread and water was given once a day and prisoners were stripped to their undergarments. The Dark Cell was nicknamed the snake den, only the most serious of all punishments were subjected to the dark cell.
Jackson , was the last prisoner admitted to the Yuma Prison on July 20, He was convicted for Adultery and was sentenced for 3 years.
He was later transferred to the new Florence Prison on August 29, The Yuma Territorial Prison remained open until September 15, , when crowded conditions at the ever-growing prison forced the removal of all prisoners to Florence.
Arizona became the 48th state in The Arizona Department of Corrections became a state agency on June 20, Strangers visiting Yuma should not miss a visit to the Territorial Prison. There has been so much written and said about the injustice and cruelty of confining persons here that strangers should make a point of paying a visit to the institution in order to be convinced of the fact that for coolness, cleanliness, care and humane treatment, there is not a Prison in the world that can compare with the Arizona Penitentiary.
The prison has been designated as a Historical Park. Because of unhealthy living conditions at Old Camp Grant, General Crook relocated the post some 45 miles northeast of the old camp at the foot of towering Mount Graham. In January of , eleven companies of cavalry and infantry were transferred to Fort Grant, under the command of Major Brown.
They immediately started work on the construction of a commissary building, officers' quarters and a wagon road up the side of Mount Graham. Ft Grant was a hub of activity during the Apache Campaigns.
It boasted a quartermaster store second to none. The building later called Brown's Folly was over feet long and 40 feet wide. It was constructed of solid stone and is still in use. Troops from Fort Grant participated in the military campaign against Geronimo which ended with Geronimo's surrender in August of In , the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry were used in civil duties and for chasing train robbers. Starting in , Fort Grant was a collection point for troops going to the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
The troops were transferred to Fort Huachuca and Fort Grant was left to a caretaker. Ft Grant had a taste of delinquency long before the State Industrial School was moved there. In , Fort Grant became an adult male prison.
Inmates built the prison and lived in tents scattered about the desert during the time it was under construction. The new prison was a distinct improvement over Yuma. There was no dungeon, no solitary confinement and no snake hole the Yuma prison's infamous cave for rebellious prisoners. It was located one floor above the cells on death row.
The chamber itself was a scaffold, and in the floor, a trap door was constructed, through which the bodies of the hanged fell into a room below. This was the administration building at Arizona State Prison in Florence, sometime in the 's. At the time of this photograph, Arizona law provided for death by hanging in capital cases. Centennial Celebration In July of , 18 inmates and 3 or 4 staff arrived in Florence by train to start building the new Prison.
It took four years to make the transition complete from the Territorial Prison in Yuma, AZ to the new site in Florence. On July 12, , approximately guests participated in the Centennial Celebration at the Warden's residence at the Complex. Staff from around the state, retirees and a couple hundred Arizona citizens participated. While some of these displays can be seen at the Central Office, all six have been digitally re-created for viewing here.
In , due to an unfortunate incident of a death row prisoner during a hanging, a reform of Arizona's death penalty condemned hanging prisoners. Presently, Arizona Law authorizes lethal injection for inmates sentenced to death after November 15, If the inmate was sentenced prior to that date, the inmate may choose between lethal gas or lethal injection. In the first decade of the century, auto travel became popular, and Arizona responded with a program to develop highways and improve existing roads.
Inmates from the prison in Florence were a ready pool of cheap labor. In October of , seventy-five prisoners arrived by train in Bisbee and were hauled over the pass in mule-drawn wagons to the prison camp in Tombstone Canyon.
Prison road gangs built the highway over the mountain pass between Bisbee and Tombstone. Today, a concrete monument commemorates the completion of the road. The road is still open, but today it is used mostly by hikers, joggers and cyclists. The number of prisons over the years has expanded from the original prison site at Florence, to a total of 10 large prison complexes: The Department's responsibilities not only include the incarceration of over 34, inmates in prisons located all over the state, but also the supervision of more than 4, inmates who have been paroled or statutorily released from prison before their entire sentence has been served.
The Department has made great strides in improving recruitment of professional correctional officers. The Correctional Officers Training Academy COTA was established to centralize and enhance training of officers, requiring them to undergo a hour curriculum of academics, self defense, firearms qualifications, fitness, and ethics.
The academy is located in Tucson, Arizona. Werninger He was Sheriff of Yuma County when the prison was constructed and housed convicts in the County Jail during the period of construction Appointed by Governor A.
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