News Releases

Ironwood State Prison Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Honors 81 Long-time “Pioneer” Employees

Blythe, Calif. – On Feb. 22, Ironwood State Prison (ISP) celebrated its 25th year of service with an anniversary celebration that went down memory lane. ISP Warden Neil McDowell and Chief Deputy Warden Richard Smith recognized 81 employees who have worked at the prison since its conception. Each “pioneer” was presented with a limited-edition 25th anniversary challenge coin. Vocational instructor Socorro Santos presented the institution with a monument created by the Facility D welding class.

Warden McDowell stated, “Whether you were a pioneer, or started Monday, you are a part of the Ironwood team that has accomplished so much. We may start out as co-workers or as partners, but over time we have become friends and part of the Ironwood family.”

Lt. Sylvia Abril, an ISP pioneer said, “I choose to stay at ISP because of its staff and the friendships I’ve established along the years. ISP is a good place to work; I’ve had great mentors who prepared me for upward mobility and taught me to believe in myself.”

Special guests at the celebration included CDCR’s Acting Undersecretary of Operations Kathleen Allison, Southern Region Chief Executive Officer Robert Herrick, Mayor of Blythe Dale Reynolds, Interim City Manager of Blythe Mallory Crecelius and Blythe Police Chief Jeff Wade. Guests also included executives from other CDCR institutions, and ISP retirees, including former Warden Tim Busby.

ISP’s primary mission is to improve public safety through the confinement of minimum- and medium-custody male offenders, while providing them the life improvement skills needed to successfully reintegrate back into society upon parole. Founded in 1994, ISP houses about 2,600 inmates and employs 1,020 staff members.  The prison jointly occupies 1,700 acres with Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. For more information, visit


Feb. 22, 2019

Contact: Kelli B. Madsen