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What to know about Arizona's Warren Jeffs before watching new Netflix docuseries

The crimes of Warren Jeffs have become notorious in Arizona. But now his story is getting national attention with the premiere of a new Netflix series.

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.

A new Netflix series is bringing Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect in northern Arizona back into the national spotlight. 

"Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" premiered this week on the streaming platform and digs deep into how Jeffs amassed dozens of wives, many of whom were juveniles, and wound up behind bars. 

Before jumping into the docuseries, here are a few facts about Jeffs that are worth knowing. 

FLDS settles in northern Arizona

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a polygamist denomination of Mormonism that established its headquarters near the Utah-Arizona border generations ago. The main Mormon church abandoned polygamy in the 19th century and now prohibits the practice.

Warren Jeffs assumed leadership of the group after his father, Rulon, died in 2002. Warren controlled a large number of assets and held strict control over his followers.

Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence

In the 2000s, criminal charges were filed in Mohave County against Jeffs accusing the so-called prophet of sex crimes and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting a child and was sentenced to life in prison.

Leadership within FLDS soon broke apart as more investigations and lawsuits started to pile on top of the secluded community. 

Towns discriminated against non-FLDS members 

After Jeffs' conviction, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the towns of Colorado City and Hildale for discriminating against residents who were not FLDS members. 

A federal jury sided with DOJ after a seven-week trial in 2016 and determined the towns denied non-FLDS members housing and police protection. The jury awarded up to $2.2. million in damages, according to KJZZ News.

Phoenix nonprofit took over Jeffs' compound

In 2017, one of Jeffs' wives gifted a three-acre property that had belonged to the family over to a Phoenix nonprofit specializing in helping victims of human trafficking.

“It’s my dream to see this compound turned into a safe house and a refuge for victims,” Briell Decker, Jeffs' 65th wife, wrote on a website about the complex. “A place where they can heal, grow, get educated and find their strength and happiness.”

The compound consisted of three homes with up to 50 bedrooms near Colorado City. The property was renamed the Short Creek Dream Center.

RELATED: Warren Jeffs' 65th wife transforms compound into social services shelter

Jeffs has attempted suicide, gone on hunger strikes

Jeffs' lawyers have claimed the convict has endured mental breakdowns since he's been incarcerated.

He's attempted to hang himself, has had to be force-fed by jail staff, and was placed into a coma after fasting in a Texas prison, according to the Arizona Republic.

Some members of FLDS have remained devoted to Jeffs in the years after his conviction, despite many followers choosing to leave the religious group. 

RELATED: Ex-wife of cult leader Warren Jeffs shares traumatic story of survival

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