It replaced the Kalgoorlie Regional Prison in December 1980. The old prison was retained as an annexe to the new prison for three years to hold maximum and medium-security prisoners on a short-term basis. It was closed down permanently with the opening of a maximum-security remand block at the new prison in 1983.
In April 2005, the prison opened the Mount Morgans work camp, which allows approved low-risk prisoners to live, care for themselves and work under supervision in the area. The Mount Morgans work camp was closed in 2011 and 2 months later the brand new Warburton work camp was opened.
A variety of employment and educational activities are available to prisoners. An education officer and tutors provide a range of education activities/courses from basic numeracy and literacy to university subjects. Courses are provided specifically for Aboriginal prisoners. Training is also conducted in a number of trades with formal accreditation gained on completion.