Even though convicts did not enter the great grey sandstone prison at Rawlins, Wyoming until December 1901, when they were transferred there by train from the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary in Laramie, it would be another six months or so before the first convicted women would join them there.
Although men were issued special prison garb before being locked away in A-Block, females were permitted to wear their own clothes. In addition to the dress code, there was another significant difference between men and women prisoners. Men, for example enjoyed more diversity in their labors, even though they were assigned to more strenuous work in the prison factory , In the field or working livestock.
They also dined enmasse and shared the relative "luxury" of exercising together. The women, however, were confined to their ward where they ate, mended washed clothes and slept. The loneliness of such solitude must have been terrible, but violatIon of the non-fraternization code could be worse. One caught breaking that rule could lose any "good time" she might have accrued. Worse, she could be locked up alone for hours or days in the dreaded "dark cell" with nothing more to eat than bread and water .
No. No one would mistake this for a vacation resort, especially the eleven women, who shared the experience of having lived there from June4, 1902 to September 16,1909. The following stories tell of these
infamous ladies and the sordid paths they followed to reach the Wyoming Frontier Prison.