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Last Nevada State Prison Warden Retires

Nevada State Prison
Esther Ciammachilli/KUNR
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The Nevada State Prison closed and now the last warden for the prison is talking about his experiences there.

Nevada State Prison is closed and under lock and key.

Now, the prison’s last warden has retired.

Gregory Smith is trading in the chaos of running a prison for the serenity that comes from umpiring high school softball games.

Gregory Smith rose from a corrections officer trainee in 1986 to warden at Nevada State Prison in 2009.

With nearly 30 years in the Nevada prison system, he has plenty of tales under his belt.

Smith told KNPR's State of Nevada that when he first started at 21 years old, he didn't understand what he was getting into.

However, after staying with it for a while he decided to make it his career.

"After a while you get in to it to a point where, 'well is this a career or am I just making ends meet at the time' and I chose to make it a career," he said.

Smith stopped an escape attempt after being tipped off by another inmate that two men were trying to escape. He was also permanently injured during a fight with a hostile inmate in the mental health ward. 

He said it can be easy to slip into friendships with inmates, if corrections officers are vigilant. 

"Don't forget where you're living, where you're working," Smith said.

Now, he feels like since he has worked so long in the corrections department, much like the inmates he guarded, he too has become institutionalized. 

"You are use to being the warden but overnight you're just John Q Public and we move on," Smith said.

Gregory Smith, former warden, Nevada State Prison

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