Ironwood State Prison (ISP)

Main Phone: (760) 921-3000

Physical Address: 19005 Wiley’s Well Road, Blythe, CA 92225 (Directions)

  • General Mailing: P.O. Box 2229, Blythe, CA 92226
  • Inmate Mailing: P.O. Box 2199, Blythe, CA 92226
  • Vocational: Carpentry, Electronics, Masonry, Plumbing, Auto Mechanic, Welding, Auto Body, Building Maintenance, Office Services Related Tech.
  • Academic Courses offered are ABE I, II, GED, Independently Study.
  • Rehabilitation Programs:  Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Veterans Group Ironwood, Life’s Too Short (Youth Diversion Program), Community Based Art Program, Criminals and Gangs Anonymous, I-4-Sight, Actors’ Gang, Inside Out Writers, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Alternatives to Violence, Healing Dialogue and Action, Inmate Peer Education Program, Lifer’s Group, Inmate Peer Education Group, Father2Child Literacy Program, Victim Offender Education Group, The Urban Ministries Institute, Siddha Yoga Meditation, Meditation Buddhist Pathways, Kairos, Great Dads, Prison of Peace, Seven Areas of Life Training, and Partnership for Re-Entry Program.

DRP Programs
CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs offers a wide range of programs for inmates. Check to see which programs are offered at this institution.

Ironwood State Prison is nestled between Los Angeles and Phoenix Arizona, in Blythe. Tourism is a big part of the Blythe economy. Blythe attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors in the winter months as people flee to the area for the mild weather. Campers and hikers come for the local parks and campgrounds and the Colorado River, one of America’s greatest adventure spots. Blythe hosts the annual Bluegrass Festival along with fairs and concerts throughout the warmer days of spring and summer. Across the border, in Phoenix Arizona, you can explore the Desert Botanical Garden, the Southwest’s largest botanical garden.

Algodrones Dunes with ATVs
Desert Botanical Garden with tree and flowers


ISP jointly occupies with Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) approximately 1,700 acres of State-owned property, of which ISP encompasses approximately 640 acres.  The prison complex occupies an estimated 350 acres with the remaining acreage used for erosion control, drainage ditches, and catch basins.

ISP was activated February 1, 1994.  ISP has four semi-autonomous Level III facilities and an outside Level I facility.  Each of the facilities contains five 270 designed housing units with a 100 designed bed capacity.  Facilities A and B have been converted to house inmates with Sensitive Needs (SNY).  One of the Level III 270 designed housing units in Facility A also has been converted to house the Administrative Segregation Unit.  The Level I facility has two 100-bed housing units.  The institution does not have a firehouse; fire protection is provided by shared services with CVSP.

ISP’s designed capacity is approximately 2,200 inmates.  Currently there are 3,280 inmates housed at ISP.


Ironwood State Prison’s name was derived from the surrounding area’s native Ironwood trees, which share with the prison the qualities of strength, solidity and firmness.

Warden Neil McDowell

Neil McDowell has been warden or acting warden at Ironwood State Prison since 2014. He has served in several positions since 1994, including chief deputy warden, captain, correctional counselor and correctional officer. He was associate warden at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison from 2009 to 2014 and a correctional officer at Eagle Mountain Community Correctional Facility from 1993 to 1994.

CEO Eric Anderson

Eric Andersson began his career in health care administration in 1977 after completing degrees from University of California, Berkeley, and Washington University in St. Louis. His professional emphasis has been in developing delivery systems that are financed, structured and assessed around community health goals. In time, Eric realized that CDCR offered an excellent environment in which to work on those goals. Eric came to CDCR in 2010 and served as CEO of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison through February 2017, leading that institution’s health care services through delegation back to the State of California. He has also served as CEO of Ironwood State Prison continuously since 2010.

Local Inmate Family Councils (IFC’s) are a gathering of family and friends of the incarcerated who meet regularly with Wardens to support visiting since keeping strong family connections with loved ones is a powerful rehabilitative tool. These IFC’s promote visiting by clarifying rules and regulations as well as discussing health, education, vocational training, packages, books, and related issues. For more information on connecting with a local IFC, please visit the Statewide IFC website.