San Quentin State Prison opened in 1852 in California. Because of its imposing structure, it was sometimes called the “Bastille by the Bay.”
The photographs below capture the Female Department at San Quentin Prison at the turn of the 20th century. Laura Scott would have been incarcerated with up to 30 other female prisoners at any one time. They were vastly outnumbered by male prisoners who numbered over 16,000.