Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
I spent my first night behind bars when I was about ten years
old. My father was the associate warden at the Utah State Prison,
and had been called to the prison because of an emergency. Since my
mother was out of town, I had the opportunity to accompany my
father to the prison. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling as
the huge iron bars opened and we were admitted to the penitentiary.
I was instantly introduced to screams and profanity from the
inmates, I felt like I had left Utah and entered a strange new world,
indeed I had. Fortunately for me, I spent the remainder of the night
in my father's office. Yet, I recall wondering what the men and
women had done to end up in this miserable place. The events of
that night sparked an interest in prisons that has lasted until the
This paper is the culmination of the fascination I have had
with penal institutions since my youth. Writing on the Utah prison
as partial fulfillment of my Masters degree was a natural topical
choice. Once I began to research the prison, and study what other
scholars had produced on the subject, I noticed a gap in the
historiography. Several historians had written about Utah's penal
history, but, there was little if any mention of prison conditions,
programs and services, or facilities designed specifically for
women inmates. To tell the saga of female prisoners in Utah, the
development of penal institutions for men and women on a national
level, the philosophical and religious ideology behind the settlement
of the Salt Lake valley, and the establishment of prison facilities in
Utah must first be told. Once the grassroots have been discussed,
the unique history concerning women inmates in Utah can be
presented. This work is an attempt to bring to light the long
struggle for penological equality women have endured in the Utah
territory and subsequent state.
Shulsen, Kenneth B., "A History of Facilities, Programs, and Services for Utah's Women Inmates" (1996). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 349.
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