Arizona Firearms Photography Social

Yuma Territorial Prison (Day 10 Summer Road Trip 2012)

On July 6, 1876, the first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma and were locked into the new cells they had built themselves. Thus began the legend of the Yuma Territorial Prison. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, lived within the walls during the prison’s 33 years of operation. Severe overcrowding forced its closure on September 15, 1909″ Source: facility brochure

We’ve visited Yuma several times, and although I had always wanted to do so, we had never visited the historic old town area, nor the quite famous Yuma Jail. Today we remedied that situation, and it has left me shaken. Sin is so awful, so painful, so ugly. Crime is devastating, and those who live such lives suffer greatly; their desperate histories that reveal their wretched lives have stirred up something very unpleasant in me. I’m bringing you a few pictures here and will most likely post several more at a later time.

I haven’t processed a picture good enough to post here of inside of the dark cell, (not sure I even can) but let me tell you about it, for it was this part of the jail that so unsettled me. It is nothing more than a dungeon, a cave where prisoners who were causing trouble within the system were thrust. The stay in the dark cell lasted from a few days to several months. The prisoners were fed with only bread and water. There was no furniture; the prisoners had to lie on the bare, cold floor where was the cruel ball and chain. There were no sanitary facilities at all. I am completely unable to assimilate such information. I do not believe I could survive such punishment, but would fold in on myself and die. God help me if I’m ever faced with such a situation.

Perhaps it is a cliche to compare physical chains, locks, and imprisonment to the spiritual chains, locks, and imprisonment satan has inflicted on humanity, but cliche or no, such comparisons beg to be heard–often. Bondage by satan is ghastly, pervasive, and real. The frightening shackles I saw today are as nothing compared to the shackles whose horror is concocted in hell.

This is an image of one of the regular cells where six prisoners were housed. The place was filthy and rampant with vermin. The prisoners bathed once weekly.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 84 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

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