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 Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP)

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Stepha3nie

Stepha3nie

Posts : 5044
Join date : 2014-07-12
Age : 50
Location : Scotland

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PostSubject: Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP)   Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP) EmptyThu Oct 23, 2014 3:59 pm

Inspired by Keays pictures, I dug around a little for information on the prison our boys tried so hard to avoid getting sent to. If you intend to get the boys incarcerated in your fanfiction, this posting might be useful.

WTP was approved to be built in 1869, funding approved the next year and two years later it opened. It was a rather small prison to begin with - only 42 cells. This was one reason why housing prisoners was rather expensive: up to $1 per day per prisoner, while Nebraska State Penitentiary only charged c40 after 1878. Between 1882 and 1887 (very interesting years, considering our boys), Illinois went one step further and housed inmates for free in Joliet. Looks like our boys had a good chance of spending time there if they had been caught during that time. They could have learned to sing the Blues and decided to bring the band, er the gang back together in order to help out financially challenged orphanages... Sorry, wrong movie.
1884 only 10 prisoners were housed in the prison in Laramie, some of whom were even allowed to go into town Saturday night. Heyes could have made a small fortune playing poker and having not much chance to spend the money.
After the deal with Joliet ended, Wyoming Territorial Prison quickly became overcrowded and even the addition of a new wing with 42 cells did not help much. The new wing included three cells for women, two for housing them, one as their bathroom. They were kept locked up 24/7 for their own protection.
As early as 1886 it was proposed to build a new facility in Rawlins, which took a long time coming. It opened 1903 and the prison in Laramie was converted into the Agriculture Experiment Station for the University of Wyoming.
Between 1872 and 1903, a total of 1063 prisoners spent time in the prison in Laramie.

I was surprised to find out that Wyoming State Penitentiary appointed a female chaplain in 1899. Dr. May Gorslin Preston Slosson (1858 - 1943), was a remarkable woman. Not only did she earn BC and MC degrees in the late 1870s, but she was the first woman to earn a PhD from Cornell University, the first woman to earn a doctorate degree in Philosophy in the US and the first female prison chaplain. 1892 she and her husband moved to Laramie. At some point she started organising Sunday afternoon lectures for prisoners by the University of Wyoming (and she lectured herself as well). When the position of chaplain became available in 1899 she was appointed at the request of the prisoners and she held the position until 1903. In Wyoming she enjoyed more rights than women in other states (e.g. the right to vote), so after she and her husband moved to New York City in 1903, both became involved in the women's suffrage movement.

Some links
http://www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/laramietpris.html
http://www.wyomingterritorialprison.com/
If you have a specific question, you can leave a comment under About: Research Library and get an answer from Admin
http://www.hauntedhouses.com/states/wy/wyoming-territorial-prison.htm
Astonishingly, this site contains some additional interesting information apart from spooky apparitions, and it has many pictures

_________________
"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Stepha3nie

Stepha3nie

Posts : 5044
Join date : 2014-07-12
Age : 50
Location : Scotland

Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP) Empty
PostSubject: Re: Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP)   Wyoming Territorial Prison (WTP) EmptyMon Nov 10, 2014 1:42 pm

If you plan to send one (or both) of the boys to prison in one of your stories, better read up on the Auburn system.
It evolved as a reform of the prison system and its supporters believed that inmates should be rehabilitated instead of just punished and contained. Sound good? Not really, because they believed the prisoners needed to reflect on their crimes before they could see the wrong of their ways and reform. In order to achieve this reflection, a rule of silence was imposed. Prisoners were only allowed to speak when asked to by guards,... Other goals were teaching the prisoners discipline and respect for work, property, and other people.
The means to achieve this were, apart from the silence rule, solitary confinement during the night, having the prisoners put to work (10 hours/6 days a week), and giving them nothing but a bible to read.
Some prisons, like the one in Laramie, also put great value on Sunday sermons and in the 1890s lectures. After reading up on some other prisons, Laramie appears fairly enlightened.
Other inventions of the Auburn system were the striped prison uniforms and having prisoners march in lockstep (prisoners had to form a line, locking arms with the prisoner in front, all heads looking to one side, then they marched in unison). When being led to work assignments, this is how prisoners had to move.
The assignment of work soon let to the leasing of prisoners to outside contractors (e.g. for railroads, building roads, working quarries - many prisoners were used to build their own prisons,...), who were delighted to have a work force which had even less rights than slaves and could be punished without regards - if they were severely injured or died, they were easily replaced without any cost to the contractor. The benefits for the prison consisted of the monetary gain. Some prisons became not only self-sufficient, but made a profit. If a warden was so inclined he could make a profit for himself.
When it came to punishing infractions, the wardens and guards became inventive. If you cannot stand cruelty, don't read the following part. Not all of the punishments listed were in use all the time everywhere, but many were common and often used. The yearly number of punishments in a prison could be twice the number of inmates.


Punishments included lashing (numbers varied greatly: from "no more than 6" to "over 100" lashes), dark cells (small cells equipped only with a slop bucket; the prisoner was left in the cold and complete darkness for days), paddling, shower baths (naked, tied up prisoners had a contraption fixed around their head, which collected water and allowed it to rise to a level over the mouth; the water could be extremely cold and was sometimes dripped on the prisoners head), yoke (a heavy iron bar was tied to the prisoners outstretched arms, forcing him to bear the weight across his neck), bucking (sitting on the floor, legs drawn close to the body, the hands were tied and the placed over the knees (as if hugging the knees), then a pole was inserted between knees and arms and lifted to rest high enough to let the prisoner hang down from it; the prisoner had the choice between letting blood rush to his head or straining his neck muscles trying to lift his head), getting hung by the thumbs.
Apart from these severe punishments, guards could also beat prisoners with basically anything at hand if they misbehaved.

_________________
"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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