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The Yuma Territorial Prison is a historical prison that is located in Yuma, Arizona and it was built on July 1, 1876 beside the tremendous Colorado River. The Yuma Territorial Prison confined 3,069 prisoners in the 33 years that it was functioning. Thanks to Jose Maria Redondo and R.B. Kelly the prison was made in Yuma, Arizona instead of Phoenix, Arizona. They both thought it would really help boost the economy for the town of Yuma. Due to the vast Colorado River to the north of the prison, the scorching desert to the south of the prison, the historical small town of Yuma, Arizona to the west of the prison and the Gila River to the east of the prison, it was extremely difficult for any prisoner to escape the Yuma Territorial Prison. The Southern Pacific Railroad was the way that the prison had the materials it needed to keep the construction going and the supplies needed for the prisoners inside the prison. The Yuma Territorial Prison, imprisoned a variety of criminals in order for them to cause no harm to the citizens of Yuma. Also, prisoners were set straight when their behavior inside the prison was inappropriate. The Yuma Territorial Prison played a diversity of roles, besides incarcerating criminals, to serve the Yuma community and the SouthWest region. The Yuma Territorial Prison imprisoned a variety of criminals in order to stop the harm they were causing to the citizens of Yuma. The territorial prison held all sorts of criminals from, murderers, thieves, to liquor merchants and other horrible criminals. Also, criminals from different ethnic backgrounds were in the prison like, Caucasians, Mexicans, American Indians, and Negros. Criminals from different religions were imprisoned like Catholics, Protestant, Jewish, and Buddhist. The age of the criminals that were imprisoned in the Yuma Territorial Prison ranged from as young as 14 years old and as old as 88 years old. Only 29 of the 3,000 criminals that were imprisoned inside the Yuma Territorial Prison were women. The men inside the prison would have to wear heavy, light blue and white striped uniforms, while on the other hand, the women in the prisoned had to make their own clothing with materials provided by the prison. Inside the Yuma Territorial Prison, prisoners were set straight if the prisoners had inappropriate behavior. If prisoners presented  a breakage of rules or disorderly misconduct. The prisoner would be punished. Some rules that were placed on the prisoners include, not damaging the walls of his or her cell, they must go to bed and stay silent when the bell rings to go to bed until the morning bell, profanity is also not allowed by the criminals and they have to be a clean person, disrespectful behavior to the guards or other prisoners is not allowed, a shower and shaving once a week is necessary, and no gambling is allowed. If the prisoners did not follow those rules they would be punished. The Dark Cell was one of the punishments that was used on the prisoners. The Dark Cell is a 15 feet by 15 feet room with an iron cage, dug into Caliche Hillside. This room was extremely dark and the only light that entered came from a small ventilation shaft in the ceiling. If there was more than one prisoner inside the Dark Cell, they were not allowed to communicate with each other. This room was also known as, “The Snake Den” because guards would sneak scorpions and snakes through the ventilation shaft in the ceiling. Inside the iron cage, the prisoner would be chained onto a ring set attached to the ground and would be fed nothing more but a loaf of bread and water. The most common punishment in the Yuma Territorial Prison, was solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is when a prisoner is isolated in a separate cell, away from any other prisoner. The building for the punishment of solitary confinement was made up of 5 cells, constructed with adobe brick walls and a metal roof. Currently at the Yuma Territorial Prison Museum, they have the box of controls that was used to open and close the doors. The Yuma Territorial Prison played a diversity of roles, besides incarcerating criminals, to serve the Yuma community and the SouthWest region. After a disastrous flood in the town of Yuma in 1916, numerous materials were needed because buildings in the town of Yuma were being destroyed.  They sought the Yuma Territorial Prison to acquire the materials and tools needed to rebuild the damaged buildings in the town. The Yuma Territorial Prison had already been abandoned before the flood because there was a new prison that was built in Florence, Arizona and also it was much bigger and spacious, so all of the prisoners were taken from the Yuma Territorial Prison to the prison in Florence. Additionally, there was no more space for the Yuma Territorial Prison to expand and the Town of Yuma did not want to give the prison anymore land. The local school district in Yuma, needed a place to give high school classes in, so the Yuma Territorial Prison was granted to the district. The prison was used from 1910 to 1914 for school purposes. Other people would call would call the students attending Yuma High School in the prison criminals, so they decided to make it their sports teams the Yuma Criminals. The Main Guard Tower at the Yuma Territorial Prison, was used as an observation tower during World War II by the Civil Defense. Furthermore, the other guard towers were used as a VFW Post which stands for, Veterans of Foreign War Post, from 1931 all the way to 1960. After that, the Yuma Territorial Prison was a famous location to film old western movies from back in the day. Famous actors like John Wayne and Gene Autry came to Yuma, Arizona to the Yuma Territorial Prison to star in these films. The prison was also used to film music videos on several occasions. Filming old western movies and music videos at the Yuma Territorial Prison, helps bring attention to the town of Yuma and it also helps the economy of Yuma increase dramatically. Thanks to the citizens that lived in the town of Yuma in the 1940’s, The Yuma Territorial Prison became a museum along with its historical value and the significance it had on Yuma Arizona and the SouthWest region. The Yuma Territorial Prison in Yuma, Arizona, has really helped the economy of Yuma increase and it also increases the attraction of tourists and visitors. Even though in 2010, Arizona State Parks, the organization which the prison was donated to in order to make it a museum, planned on closing The Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park due to shortage of money. The ” Chain Gangs” and the Yuma Community helped raise $70,000 to keep The Yuma Territorial Prison open. The Yuma Territorial Prison functioned for 33 long years in order to keep the Town of Yuma and the SouthWest region safe and away from dangerous criminals that were just causing trouble and terror. The Town of Yuma, Arizona did benefit from the Yuma Territorial Prison in many different ways. The Yuma Territorial Prison allowed the town of Yuma in Arizona, to buy electricity after and since it was a small town it was really rare and a huge advancement for the town. There being benefits to having the Territorial Prison being located in Yuma Arizona, there was also some disadvantages. The prison had to pump raw sewage into the Colorado River and also because of unsanitary conditions in the Town of Yuma, the drinking water  was dirty and it caused diseases like Typhus, Smallpox, and Scarlet Fever. That was really unfortunate for such a small town. In the end,  The Yuma Territorial Prison had a big impact on the Town of Yuma and the SouthWest region as well. In addition, The Yuma Territorial Prison also had a great significance on the Town of Yuma and the SouthWest region because the prison captured different types of horrible criminals in order for them to cause no more harm to the SouthWest and the Town of Yuma. Also, The Yuma Territorial Prison set prisoners straight when their behavior was inappropriate towards guards or other prisoners. Not only did the Yuma Territorial Prison capture criminals from the Town of Yuma or the SouthWest region, but it did have many other roles that had a great impact on Yuma, Arizona.

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