In 1876 , on July 1st , the Yuma Territorial Prison opened for business , and The Yuma Territorial prison was in operation for thirty-three years in Yuma , Arizona . This facility was made by the prisoners themselves , all starting with seven prisoners . Eventually , due to overcrowding , the prison was forced to shut down and then all prisoners were moved to a facility in Florence , Arizona . When the ground was broken on April 28th , 1876 , the prisoners were forced to build their very own cells and the entire prison . The Yuma Territorial Prison held a very wide variety of prisoners , from petty crimes and capital crimes like murder . For example , the prisoner Elena Estrada was sentenced for manslaughter after she killed and cut the heart out of her two-faced , cheating lover . While the mormon William Jordan Flake was sentenced for unlawful plural marriage because of his wives . And Barney K . Riggs was sentenced to life after killing a man who was involved with his cheating wife , but however , he was eventually pardoned by the governor and released . After The Yuma Territorial Prison closed , Yuma Union High School occupied the structure after the school burnt down and then stayed from 1910 until 1914 . Which is how the Yuma Union High School got their nickname of the criminals , then becoming the mascot of their school . Then , the county hospital used the facility from 1914 till 1923 . In all , The Yuma Territorial Prison had a huge impact on the growth of Yuma , economically , and population wise . Life in the prison was decent for the most part . The prison was known for their rules and strict enforcement of them . And for the nortrious , dark hell hole , which was the guards way to handle a prisoner’s bad behavior , putting them in solitary , which was a dark hole , where the prisoners were only to live off of bread and water only during their stay . When prisoners first entered the prison for their “ lovely “ stay , they were then were photographed and were ordered to took a bath . Each prisoner was only allowed to have one prison issued hat , one jacket , two pairs of pants , two pairs of socks , one pair of shoes , two handkerchiefs , and two towels . Then , the guards would fill out a “ description of convict “ , filling out their names , description , and some facts about the person . The inmates took pride in the cleanliness of the prison , also , if an inmate wasn’t clean enough to their standards , the inmates would bathe him with a hose and a rough horse scrubbing brush to show them the importance of bathing to the inmate . Also , there was a “ cell “ for everything , A cell for inmates who had tuberculosis ( TBI ) or other diseases and illnesses , those who were mentally insane were thrown into their box like cell to help them calm down , and one for those who misbehaved .Although The Yuma Territorial Prison was not the greatest prison to our standards now , it still made their version of how a modern prison should look and be like then . The Yuma Territorial Prison helped with the overall growth of Yuma Arizona . The addition of the prison to Yuma created jobs for people and brought people in to our city . Guards were needed to keep the prisoners in check and also up to date on the rules . Doctors for the care of the prisoners , the prisoners had access to good health needs , however most prisoners who died , their deaths were called by tuberculosis . Eventually , when the prison shut down from overcrowding , Yuma Union High School moved in after the school burnt down . Which is how they got their nickname of The Criminals , given by a rival athletic team, and they took the name with pride . The addition of the prison brought growth to Yuma becoming known for their model institution with their strictly enforced rules and the school of The Criminals . Bringing the community more together and this small city know for it’s “ hell hole “ . Economy , the definition of economy is the wealth and resources of a region in terms of production and consumption of goods . The prison had their own little way of getting money their money , and the money even went back for the prisoners . They charged visitors twenty-five cents for a tour of the prison and the money went to buying library books for the prisoners . Also , on Sundays , the prison held public bazaars so inmates could sell handmade items to make a little bit of their own money . Which helped the economy having more to sell , so therefore , there was more for people to buy . Plus , when the economy crashed and the great depression started , it provided housing for homeless and people and their families who were evicted from their homes because of lack of money . The empty cells are where they would stay until they were able to get back on their feet and get back to their homes . Staying in the prison granted them free shelter until the country started to fall out of the great depression , money was more accessible, and there were more jobs available . Plus , the building of the prison itself saved money because of getting to pay prisoners less because they ended up building their own cells , which saved money of their twenty-five thousand grant to build the prison . The Prison helped by provided handcrafted goods to sell , with tours , and helping during the great depression . In all , The Yuma Territorial Prison was a good addition to Yuma , Arizona . Furthermore , the addition of this facility to Yuma helped increase the population . The opening brought jobs , therefore , people came in for the job openings in the prison . With the jobs provided by the prison , people and their families moved down to Yuma for their family member’s job . Families moving to Yuma and staying in Yuma helped increase the population . Plus, sometimes additional family members would move down to be closer to others . Also , occasionally , other families would move down to be closer to their family members in prison . And eventually , when prisoners are released , they would stay in Yuma with their families and possibly have more children . Not to mention , after it shut down , the Yuma Territorial Prison provided housing to homeless , therefore raising the population a bit more with the homeless staying in town .Therefore , keeping the homeless in town with free housing while they wait to ride the fret trains . And during the great depression , it helps keep the population at a close number to the original by providing free housing for those who got evicted from their home . This addition was an important addition to this community , providing jobs and free temporary housing for families , and bringing people to this town . In conclusion , the addition of this prison was very important to the community . It provides cultural and growth to this small city . This prison brought jobs , which brought people , which brought money . And it also helped the prisoners , giving them the skills of reading and writing , and being able to earn some money from the hand crafted items they sold at bazaars . The jobs created by this addition brought families in , and even more families of possible inmates , therefore increasing the population of Yuma , Arizona . It also housed the homeless and gave homes to people in the great depression . In all , This prison helped the growth of Yuma , economically and population wise .