Montana State Prison

Montana State Prison is a prison for male inmates that is located near Deer Lodge, Montana. The current facility was built between 1974 and 1979 after the original facility — AKA the “old prison” which was built in 1871 and was located in downtown Deer Lodge — started to fall apart.

The "Old Prison" served as the Montana Territorial Prison from 1871 until Montana achieved statehood in 1889, then continued as the primary penal institution for the State of Montana until 1979. The Old Prison was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and is now a museum.

Throughout the prison's history, the institution was plagued with constant overcrowding, insufficient funds, and antiquated facilities. The administration of Warden Frank Conley from 1890 to 1921 was the exception to this rule.

After Conley left office, the prison went through 40 years of mismanagement, money restraints, and degeneration. This led to numerous riots which received national attention. 

The current facility can house approximately 1,500 inmates, and it houses six different custody levels: minimum I, minimum II, medium I, medium II, maximum, and closed. The inmates are housed based on their custody level, and the prison is surrounded by two fences and a large wall with razor wire.

In addition to the main facility, Montana State Prison also has a 192-bed work and re-entry center for minimum custody inmates outside of the perimeter fence. The inmates who live there work for Montana Correctional Enterprises on the ranch and dairy farm.

Old Prison Museum

The city of Deer Lodge purchased the campus and turned the care of it over to the Powell County Museum and Arts Foundation. The prison is now the Old Prison Museum, a complex that includes tours of the historic prison and buildings housing other collections.

References in popular culture

The 1982 film Fast-Walking starring James Woods, Tim McIntire, Kay Lenz, M. Emmet Walsh and Susan Tyrell was partly filmed in the prison.

The 1985 film Runaway Train tarring Jon Voight, Eric Roberts and Rebecca De Mornay was partly filmed in the prison.

The 1992 film Diggstown starring James Woods, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Bruce Dern was partly filmed in the prison.

The 1994 film F.T.W. starring Mickey Rourke, Lori Singer and Peter Berg was partly filmed at the prison.

The Discovery Channel show Ghost Lab and The Travel Channel Show Ghost Adventures both filmed a paranormal investigation at the location.

Prison Insights

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visitation at Montana State Prison now requires you to schedule visits through CenturyLink.

Once approved to visit, family and friends can create an account with CenturyLink to allow them to schedule visits in person or using video visitation where available. 

The website to register with CenturyLink is The Customer Care phone number for CenturyLink is 1–888–646–9437.

The visiting hours at Montana State Prison are as follows:

  • Visiting Block 1: 2:15 – 5:15 p.m.

Thursday – High Side Only
Friday – Low Side Only
Saturday – Low Side, High Side, WRC, Unit F, LHU1
Sunday - Low Side, High Side, WRC, Unit F,  LHU2

2:15 – 2:45          Visitors are allowed in the checkpoint. Early/Late visitors will be turned away.
2:15 – 3:15          Visitor check-in and processing time.
3:15 – 5:15          Actual visiting time.
5:15                      End of first block of visiting.

  • Visiting Block 2: 5:15 – 8:15 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday – Low Side, High Side, WRC

5:15 – 5:45           Visitors are allowed in the checkpoint. Early or Late visitors will be turned away.
5:15 – 6:15            Visitor check-in and processing time.
6:15 – 8:15            Actual visiting time.
8:15                        End of first block of visiting.

Visitors may sign up for one visiting block per week. Inmates in the general prison population may have four visits each week.

No more than five people (including children) may visit each inmate at one time. A visitor may visit no more than one inmate at a time unless the visitor has the prior approval of the second-shift captain.

Martz Diagnostic Intake Unit – Inmates are only allowed visits with their attorneys and law enforcement officials.

Visits must be Scheduled one week prior to visiting. Please contact MSP Visitation with any additional questions at 406-846-1320 ext. 2313. You can also call the prison’s toll-free phone message service for scheduling updates at 1-888-739-9122.

Approval of Visitors

Upon admission, inmates are provided with visitor questionnaires and rules that they can mail to prospective visitors. Additional questionnaires are available in the housing units.

To be approved for visiting, a prospective visitor must complete the questionnaire completely and accurately. Separate questionnaires must be submitted by everyone over the age of 18. Mail all visiting applications to:

Mail Technicians
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Visitor Searches

All visitors and visitor property on prison premises are subject to search at any time. If a visitor refuses to submit to a required or reasonable suspicion search, he or she will be turned away.

Allowed Items

Visitors are allowed to bring the following items listed down below. All other personal property items (including cell phones, chewing gum and cough drops) are to be left in the visitor's vehicle or in the visitor lockers provided. Montana State Prison is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

  • one clear, Ziploc-type sandwich bag
  • two vehicle keys and a key fob on a bare ring (nothing else on the ring)
  • state- or federal-issued identification card with a physical description of the holder, a facial photograph, and current mailing address
  • no more than $20 in pocket change or cash, with no bills larger than a $1 bill. Pocket change must be loose (no coins in rolls).
  • medical and handicap items

On a case-by-case basis, prescription medication (inhalers and nitroglycerin) in the original container are allowed in a limited amount during the visitation period. These medications will be kept in a visitor locker and will be retrieved by visiting staff should the visitor need them during a visit.

  • Jewelry 

Once a visitor has been cleared for entrance, he or she must wear any permitted jewelry items and may not remove them until they leave the facility: one ring (wedding sets count as one ring), one bracelet, and one necklace.

Visitors with small babies may bring:

  • one clear, empty plastic bottle or “sippy” cup per baby
  • one factory-sealed container of baby food (spoons are provided in the visiting room)
  • baby formula – one clear Ziploc-type sandwich bag containing only the amount needed for the visit. Breastfeeding is allowed with the use of an approved blanket.
  • one factory-sealed package of baby wipes
  • four diapers
  • one pacifier
  • one teething ring or toy – must be one piece, hard plastic
  • two blankets, not quilted and no larger than 3' x 3'

Baby carriers and diaper bags are not allowed.

The dress code for this facility is family-friendly and modest. Please review it before visiting the facility.


Inmates may have photographs taken of themselves or with their visitors in accordance with the following:

  • Each inmate is allowed to have two photographs taken per visit.
  • No hugging. Inmates and visitors are allowed to put their arms around one another (above shoulder). Their hands must be visible in the photograph.
  • No gang gestures.
  • No kissing.
  • Inmates may hold their children or have their children sit on their lap for photographs.
  • Visitors pay for the photos with the money they are allowed to bring into the visiting room. Only staff will handle these funds. Photos are $2 each.
  • Finished photos are forwarded to the housing unit for delivery to the inmate. Photos with questionable or improper content are not delivered and the purchaser’s money is not refunded.

Physical Address

Montana State Prison
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​​(406) 846-1320

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, DOC Number, and Housing Unit
Montana State Prison
400 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722

How to Call an Inmate

All housing units at the Montana State Prison are equipped with telephones, but the inmates can’t receive incoming calls. However, they do have access to phones during daytime hours and can make outgoing calls, which are typically made collect or through a prepaid account. 

At no time are incoming calls accepted for inmates, nor are messages taken. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Montana, please click here.

How to Send Money

To send money to an inmate, you must be approved to be on that inmate’s visiting list.

Inmates may receive funds from:

  • their attorney
  • immediate family members listed on their approved visiting list
  • one approved, non-family member authorized by the warden or his or her designee. Inmates may request that the non-family member be changed to another approved, non-family member, but this can only occur once every six months.


Approved individuals may place money in the inmate’s trust account through the online Inmate Trust Account Deposits service at There is a $250 limit for transactions. 

Instructions on how to use the system are available online. To create an account, you will need the last four digits of your Social Security number.

There is a three-day holding period before funds are available to the inmate. Your receipt shows the date the funds will be available.

Money Order

Approved individuals may mail money to an inmate in the form of a cashier’s check or a U.S. Postal money order. Personal checks are not accepted and are returned to the sender.

The cashier’s check or money order must include:

  • the inmate’s full name and DOC number
  • the sender’s full name and address

In addition:

  • Funds must be received within 20 days of the date of purchase.
  • The envelope containing the cashier’s check or money order must be postmarked from the immediate area in which the approved sender’s listed residence is located.
  • If the sender cancels a money order after it has been received at MSP, staff notifies Postal Service authorities.

Mailroom staff stamps the inside of the envelopes with the amount sent and forwards the mail to the inmates, so they know how much money was deposited in their trust accounts.

Programs For Inmates

Montana State Prison offers numerous educational and work programs to their inmates.

Pictures of Montana State Prison

Careers at Montana State Prison

If you are interested in a career with the Montana Department of Corrections at the Montana State Prison, you can find out more information by clicking here