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30 May 2024
Alan Morris outside a cell at Yuma prison.

I didn't know what to expect at the Yuma Territorial Prison but I found the tour very interesting and informative.

Yuma Territorial Prison.

The prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876. For the next 33 years, 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, served sentences there for crimes ranging from murder to polygamy. The prison was under continuous construction with labour provided by the prisoners. In 1909, the last prisoner left the Territorial Prison for the newly constructed Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona.

High School.

Yuma Union High School occupied the buildings from 1910 to 1914. When the school's football team played against Phoenix and unexpectedly won, the Phoenix team called the Yuma team "criminals". Yuma High adopted the nickname with pride, sometimes shortened to the "Crims". The school's symbol is the face of a hardened criminal, and the student merchandise shop is called the Cell Block.

Notable Inmates of the Yuma Territorial Prison.

  • Burt Alvord, Cochise County lawman and train robber.
  • William Jordan Flake, a Mormon pioneer imprisoned for violating the Edmunds Act.
  • Pearl Hart, stagecoach robber.
  • Franklin Leslie, a gunfighter and the killer of Billy Claiborne.
  • Ricardo Flores Magón, Mexican revolutionary, founder of the Partido Liberal Mexicano.
  • Pete Spence, outlaw involved in the Earp Clanton feud.