Many know the story of Winnie Ruth Judd, the infamous “Trunk Murderess” of Arizona; but few know the stories of Eva Dugan, Dr. Rose Boido or Eva Wilbur Cruz, also known as “La Pistolera,” or the implications of these notorious women’s stories in the larger context of women in the Arizona prison system.
Christine Reid, writer and researcher for the Pinal County Historical Museum, will present “Women of the Arizona State Prison,” Wednesday (Aug. 8) at 3:30 p.m. in the ASA Great Room. Reid, who calls herself “almost a native, but not quite,” became interested in Arizona’s cultural heritage when she moved to Arizona more than 30 years ago. She came to know the prison warden’s assistant, a founding member of the Pinal County Historical Museum, and stories of the women housed in the prison intrigued her.
Who were these women, really? How did they end up in prison? What impact, if at all, did the women have on the prison system in general? What about the children these imprisoned women left behind?
Reid discovered that while there have been sensational cases consistently through time, what women have been arrested for has changed, as has our awareness of the impact of prison on women. What strikes her most, however, is not what has changed, but what has remained the same: motherhood. Children have always been and continue to be impacted by the incarceration of their mothers.
Reid allows her audience to draw their own conclusions; she simply presents the facts, the statistics—and yes, the colorful stories of the most notorious women—through photographs, prison records, and newspaper articles. Her presentation begins with the transition from the Territorial Prison in Yuma to Florence and culminates in the three women currently on death row.
Written by Pamela Hennessy, Academy Village Volunteer