High Desert State Prison (Nevada)

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For the California prison, see High Desert State Prison (California).
High Desert State Prison
Location Clark County, Nevada
Coordinates 36°30′45″N 115°34′56″W / 36.5125°N 115.5822°W / 36.5125; -115.5822Coordinates: 36°30′45″N 115°34′56″W / 36.5125°N 115.5822°W / 36.5125; -115.5822
Status Operational
Security class Medium-maximum
Capacity 4176
Population (%)
Opened 1 September 2000
Managed by Nevada Department of Corrections
Director Dwight Neven, Warden

High Desert State Prison is a state prison in unincorporated Clark County, Nevada, near Indian Springs. It is the largest institution of the Nevada Department of Corrections and the newest having opened on September 1, 2000.[1]


The 1,576,000 sq ft (146,400 m2) complex lies approximately 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Las Vegas along highway 95.[1] It was designed as the most secure prison within the Nevada Department of Corrections system. High Desert State Prison contains 12 housing units designed to house 336 inmates each. Each of units 1-8 are separated into four (4) sections called "pods". Each set of two "pods" shares a common control center and staff office. Each set of two pods also shares a sally port and an activity room. There is also a 26,000 square foot (2,400 m2) infirmary at the institution. All of this is on a 160 acres (65 ha) site which is kept secure by a lethal electrified fence and seven armed towers, as well as a roving perimeter patrol officer. Construction completed in 2009 added 1,344 beds to the original 2671 for a total capacity of 4,176.[1]

The Tonopah Conservation Camp is associated with the prison. The Clark County School District provides the education program on site using 8 classrooms and 2 libraries.


The institution opened on 1 September 2000 and became the reception unit for southern Nevada. This facility was designed to be the first of several prisons to be built at this location. The facility presented many design challenges such as electrical backup and water supply, plus staff retention due to the remote location. The closest populated area to the prison is Indian Springs, 8 miles (13 km) north of the prison. To date, there have been two expansions. The first expansion, completed in 2004, added a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) prison industries building and a gymnasium. The second expansion added four more housing units. High Desert is one of the largest prisons in the United States. High Desert State Prison is a Medium security prison. High Desert is structurally the most secure prison in the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Selected residents[edit]

Following his conviction in December 2008 former Buffalo Bills Running Back O.J. Simpson was briefly a resident of High Desert State Prison. He has since been transferred to the Lovelock Correctional Center in Pershing County.[2] Ronald Joseph Radke, former lead singer for Post-hardcore band Escape the Fate and current lead singer of Falling in Reverse was held there from August 2008 to December 2010.[3] Chaz Higgs, a former nurse who was convicted of murder in the death of his wife, Nevada State Controller Kathy Augustine, is serving a 20 year to life sentence at High Desert State Prison.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "High Desert State Prison". Nevada Department of Corrections. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "OJ Simpson Arrives at Nevada Prison in Lovelock". kolotv.com. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Zaleski, Annie (5 May 2011). "Rocker Ronnie Radke is out of prison and ready to make his musical mark again". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Court issues full opinion in Kathy Augustine murder" (Las Vegas Sun)

External links[edit]