The Ely Maximum State Prison was built about nine miles northwest of Ely, Nevada. The prison can house up to 1,054 offenders. Each warden has his own methods and ways of doing things, and, as long as their ideas fit within the guidelines of the state, he is in total control of the facility.

The Ely State Prison was first opened and accepted its first prisoners in August 1989. Phase two was completed in November 1990 and under 250 inmates were housed here. The cost of construction for the prison was $54,763,391.00. The Ely State Prison is considered to be one of the area's major employers and is budgeted to fill 350 positions. The Prison and its employees contribute greatly to the economy of White Pine County. In 2000, there are over 1000 inmates incarcerated at ESP.

The Ely State Prison houses Nevada's Death Row inmates and is Nevada's only maximum security prison. Executions take place at Carson City, Nevada.

Information about Books, Canteen and Photos on Death Row


-a Library card costs $3.00 (at one time expense)
-5 books may be checked out ever two weeks
-The Library used is the one belonging to the Mountain View High School in Ely and its selection is the same as in every other Library.
-You can also send books as gifts, but you need to write to your pen pal, giving him the title of the book you intend to offer because the prison has to approuve the book. Usually there is no problems. Of course, the books need to come from a store (the best way today are the online websites) and need to be NEW.


To purchase a book, we have now a new bookstore which has a large choice in books dealing with prison, prison conditions etc. Either for you or for your friend behind bar, please visit this website.


Western Prison Project and the Prison Policy Initiative are pleased to announce our new joint publication, the Prison Index.

For years the debate over prisons has raged. Now, for the first time, an accessible compilation of facts and statistics on the crime control industry is available in an easy to read, index style. The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry is the first index of statistics about our nation’s criminal justice system ever published.  Containing 611 facts and 17 graphs and charts, this 48-page volume presents, in black-and-white, the state of crime control in America. 

The Prison Index is organized in four sections, each targeting a different aspect of our justice system.  Crime & Punishment features information regarding public perception of crime, crime rates for various offenses, juvenile justice, and the death penalty.  Incarceration & Its Consequences tackles incarceration rates, prison conditions, the makeup of our prison population, and the disenfranchisement of the convicted.  The third section, The Prison Economy, focuses on budgeting, prison industry, privatization and related economic topics. The final section, Global Comparisons, puts the American experiment with prisons and crime into an international context. Statistics reflect historical data, the present picture, and projections about the frightening consequences should the American approach to criminal justice remain consistent in the years ahead.

Examples from the Prison Index:

  • Amount, in dollars, spent nationally in 1997 on corrections: $43.5 billion
  • Average percent increase in state spending on corrections, 1985-2000: 175%
  • Average percent increase in state spending on higher education, 1985-2000: 29%
  • First year that 50 states combined spent more on building prisons than colleges: 1995
  • Incarceration rate per 100,000 Black adult men in South Africa under apartheid (1993): 851
  • Incarceration rate per 100,000 African-American men in the United States under George W. Bush (2001): 7,226

The Prison Index is authored by Peter Wagner, assistant director of the Prison Policy Initiative, creator of the popular crime-control Internet portal site, and author of the groundbreaking study, “Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in New York.”  In this volume, Wagner continues his unflinching efforts to expose the truth about the crime control industry by presenting readers, not with a political viewpoint, but fact after alarming fact.

This book is for everyone who has gone through the frustrating experience of trying to locate that one, elusive crime-control statistic only to be met with a daylong search yielding untrustworthy sources and stale data.  Whether you are an attorney, a student, an activist, a journalist, a policy maker, or a citizen concerned about the state of crime control in America, this concise and affordable volume puts valuable and time-saving research at your fingertips. 

The Prison Index is published by Western Prison Project and the Prison Policy Initiative.

You can purchase the Prison Index on the web at: using a secure link through PayPal, or send payment to the Western Prison Project at the address below.

1-9     $10 per volume plus $2 shipping & handling
10-24   $8 per volume plus $3.50 shipping & handling
25+     $7 per volume plus $5 shipping & handling
Prisoner rate (single copies)   $8 (includes shipping & handling)

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at infos@westernprisonproject

Kathleen Pequeño
Western Prison Project
PO Box 40085   Portland, OR 97240
(503) 335-8449 fax (503) 232-1922
[email protected] ///


We are waiting for a complete list of the food and beverages provided by the Commissary, but already, please note:

-3oz of coffee costs $2.79 - 1 macaroni + cheese box costs $0,53 - A box of ram noodles costs $0,16 - A 16oz box of chocolate chips cookies costs $1.74 - A Thermal Shirt costs $8.81 - A sweat shit + pants costs $11.31

Food and clothing packages are allowed into the prison twice per year


The cost for a photo is $2.25 (maximum: two photos at a time). To obtain a photo, a request can be put in every week via the canteen and a guard working in the visiting room will take the photo.


Death Row recreations schedule is as follows:
Mondays: tier time 12:30-3:00 pm
Tuesdays: yard time 8:00-11:45 am, tier time 7:00-8:45 pm
Wednesdays: tier time 7:00-8:45 pm
Thursdays: tier time 12:30-3:00 pm
Fridays: yard time 8:00-11:45 am, tier time 7:00-8:45 pm
Saturdays: tier time 8:00-11:45 am
Sundays: tier time 7:00-8:45 pm

12 men can have tier/yard time {if they so desire} at a time; A wing {DR} is comprised of 48 people; B wing {DR overflow and general population admininstrative segregation} has 48 men, 24 of those on DR.


Many classes are available to death row population. To have an overview of what can be teached click the link CLASSES.



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