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Cañon City sits in a geological bowl surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Historically, it has been known as the prison capital of the world, with eight— soon to be nine—state prisons in the area and four federal facilities located 11 miles away in Florence. The first prison in Cañon City was built in 1868, before Colorado became a state, and was opened in 1871. Originally known as the Colorado Territorial Penitentiary, it is currently called the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility and holds approximately 800 male inmates. Cañon City has grown up around the prisons, and the area’s colorful history is defined by daring prison breaks, infamous inmates, such as the Colorado cannibal Alferd Packard, and by the stories of the inmates and employees who have been part of the prison system.
Author Bio: Author Victoria R. Newman works at the Museum of Colorado Prisons and spent 13 years as a correctional officer at the prisons. She conducts guided tours of the museum and the historic Woodpecker Hill section of Greenwood Cemetery, and she has written a book titled Woodpecker Hill about the inmates buried there. This volume contains many previously unpublished photographs, and the majority of the images were drawn from the Museum of Colorado Prisons collection.
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