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Colorado Women's Prison

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  • Colorado Territorial Penitentiary

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    The Colorado Territorial Penitentiary was constructed in 1869 and opened in June 1871 in Cañon City. It became the Colorado State Penitentiary, which has been located in the area ever since. The prison housed its first female inmate in 1873, but by 1884 the number of incarcerated women grew to six, prompting the construction of a separate women's prison within the penitentiary grounds.
    Colorado Territorial Penitentiary
  • Female Inmate

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    In the early twentieth century, conditions in the women's prison were generally considered above average for a prison. Inmates were allowed to work in the prison's flower and vegetable gardens, and volunteers from outside the prison came to teach sewing, music, and other skills.
    Female Inmate
  • Female Inmates

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    Inmates usually spent their time doing the domestic work necessary to keep the prison functioning, such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.
    Female Inmates
  • Museum of Colorado Prisons

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    Constructed in 1935, the Colorado Women's Prison was converted into the Museum of Colorado Prisons in 1988 after years of vacancy and a community effort to restore the property. The museum features unique exhibits in each of the thirty original cells.
    Museum of Colorado Prisons

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