Nebraska State Penitentiary

The Nebraska State Penitentiary is a mixed-custody facility for male inmates that is located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Opening in 1869, this is the oldest prison in the state, and until World War II, it was the only prison in the state of Nebraska. It currently houses approximately 1,300 inmates.

The inmate population at NSP consists primarily of inmates ranging in age from 21 and older  who are serving sentences of varying length. 

During 1980-1981, the existing cell blocks constructed during the second half of the 19th century were replaced by four (later five) modular housing units. A new administrative complex and an EPA approved multi-fuel power plant were also completed at the same time. 

An existing dormitory building constructed in the 1950's was retained as a medium security facility and two new 100-bed dormitory units were opened in 1998. A 36-bed control unit built in the 1950’s was previously used as a high security segregation facility. 

In 2020, steps were finalized to transform that space to Minimum A custody general population housing for men who work in the facility’s shops. In addition to housing, a dayroom, gaming room, and library/study were added. The Industries Plant, Laundry, Religious Center, and other support buildings were retained from the older facility as well.

NSP uses the unit management concept designed to improve control and staff/inmate relationships by dividing the larger institution population into smaller, more manageable groups and to improve and personalize the delivery of rehabilitative services. 

In addition to maximum and medium security inmates, NSP maintains three housing units with minimum security inmates, including a residential substance abuse unit. 

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at the Nebraska State Penitentiary are as follows: 

Tuesday                   8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wednesday             8:00 am - 12:00 pm       1:00 - 4:30 pm
Thursday                 8:00 am - 12:00 pm       1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Friday                       8:00 am - 12:00 pm       1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Saturday                  8:00 am - 12:00 pm       1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday                    1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Tuesday                1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday                  8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Visitors attending the morning visitation sessions must arrive no later than 9:40 AM in order to be admitted.

Dress Code

Casual attire is appropriate, and clothing should not be distracting or offensive to inmates or to other visitors and must be in good repair. Clothing that is tight fitting (clothing will be considered tight fitting if it reveals the outline of genitalia or the areola), revealing, or made of see-through fabric is not allowed.

Shorts or skirts must be below the knee when standing/sitting. Shirts and dresses must cover the shoulders. Clothing with pictures, symbols, or language that may be considered profane or offensive by current public standards is not allowed. Tops of clothing shall be no lower than the collarbone in the front and back.

Clothes will be expected to be in good repair with no rips, tears, or pockets that are torn to allow access beneath the garment. 

Shoes are required to be worn at all times, and open toe shoes are allowed. A lightweight outer jacket/sweater without any pockets may be worn in the visiting area. 

Visitors must wear undergarments, but they can’t wear multiple layers of undergarments. Females must wear one bra and one pair of underwear (10 years of age or under are not required to wear a bra). Males must wear one pair of underwear/undershorts. 

Visitors are not allowed to wear a combination of both khaki colored pants and a shirt at the same time when they visit. A visitor may wear khaki pants or a khaki shirt but never at the same time when visiting. 

Hats, headbands, hooded clothing or outerwear are not allowed. Clergy are permitted to wear religious headwear. Watches, exercise trackers, and similar devices are not permitted. 

Children, 10 years or younger, may be allowed to visit if wearing shorts, skirts, or rompers. 

Visitor Items

Visitors are permitted the following items in the visiting room/area: 

  • Heart and asthma medication in the original container. Other medication may not be taken into the visiting area without approval. 
  • Parents with infants may bring in two, factory sealed, single-serving, ready-to-feed formula or two clear bottles (no glass), four disposable diapers, eight wet wipes inside a clear bag, one receiving blanket, and one plastic teething instrument.
  • Each visitor may bring up to $20.00 in change for use in the vending machines.

All other personal property must be secured in your vehicle or in lockers provided by the facility.

Physical Address

Nebraska State Penitentiary
4201 South 14th Street
Lincoln, NE 68502

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(402) 471-3161

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, DOC Number, and Housing Unit
Nebraska State Penitentiary
P.O. Box 22500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, but they do have access to phones during daytime hours and can make outgoing calls, which are typically made by calling collect or through a prepaid account. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Nebraska, please click here.

How to Send Money

You can send money to an inmate at Nebraska State Penitentiary through JPay. You can use their website, their JPay mobile app, in-person at MoneyGram agent locations, or by calling 1-800-574-5729.

You must know the inmate’s full name and their DOC number to send money through JPay.

Programs For Inmates

The NSP offers a variety of education/rehabilitation programs designed to enhance an inmate's chances for successful community adjustment upon release. These include:

  • Educational/Life Skills and Vocational Programs
  • Self-Improvement (Mental Health and Control Unit Program)
  • Residential and Non-Residential Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Residential Treatment Community (RTC)
  • Religious Programming and Self-Betterment Activities
  • Support Services



(Educational services are provided by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Education)

  • Adult Basic Education
  • College Courses
  • English as a Second Language
  • General Educational Development (GED)

Life Skills/Vocational:

  • Employability
  • Money Smart
  • Inside Out Dads (Parenting)
  • Self-improvement:
  • Non-Residential Treatment Services (NRTS)
  • Residential Treatment Community (RTC)
  • Mental Health
  • Religious Programming (Catholic, Protestant, Native-American, Islam, Asatru/Theodish, House of Yahweh, Thelema, Jehovah's Witness, MA’AT , Buddhist, Latter Day Saints, Native-American and Wiccan)
  • Self-Betterment Clubs. (Ethnic/Cultural Awareness, Service and Recreational)
  • The Segregation LEVELS Incentive  Program
  • Second Chance PUPS. For additional information on the dog obedience training program contact: NSP-Acting Public Information Officer [email protected]
  • Other Support Services available to inmates at the NSP include:
  • Athletics & Recreation
  • Recreation Library/Law Library

Private Venture

There are several Private Venture companies located on Prison grounds, etc. These Inmate-employees, in turn, pay State and Federal taxes and contribute to the costs of their "room and board" at the facility. Part of their income goes into a Victim's Reparation Fund, as well as towards financial support of their families or in savings.

  • ​Cornhusker State Industries
  • Braille
  • Furniture production
  • Metal fabrication
  • License Plate production
  • Soap/Detergent manufacturing
  • Laundry

CSI products/services are available to any governmental and nonprofit entities.

Clinical Treatment

  • Anger Management High Risk/Need: available to individuals demonstrating high risk/high needs related to anger. This treatment provides instruction and practice on basic anger control strategies in a group facilitated by clinicians.
  • Continuing Care-Sex Offender Program: This program helps participants maintain and strengthen the gains they made in other treatment programs. It also helps participants navigate new challenges and helps support the transition back to a community setting. Also offered on parole.
  • METEOR:This program introduces the concept of stages of change and works to assess and educate participants about which stage they are in and how to move forward.
  • oHeLP Outpatient Sex Offender Program: The Outpatient Healthy Lives Program is available to individuals who are assessed to be at a relatively moderate risk to sexually re-offend.
  • Residential Treatment for Substance Abuse: Inmates assigned to residential treatment programs have been identified as having serious substance abuse issues. These programs generally last about six months.
  • Violence Reduction Program: an intensive treatment option for individuals at high risk for violent re-offense. Incarcerated individuals with a high risk to reoffend may include those with strong antisocial beliefs or lifestyle, evidence of psychopathy, and/or instrumental violence.

Non-Clinical Programs

  • Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP): a workshop that provides insight on anger and relationships; new ways to address disagreements.
  • Crime Victims Impact/Empathy and Life Skills: This program increases a participant's understanding of the harm/damages they caused their victims, communities and themselves. The program also provides an important life skill module that teaches how to become emotionally proficient, which translates into better decision making and reduced conflicts.
  • Destination Dads-Common Sense Parenting: Provides parents with a menu of techniques that will aid them in building positive family relationships; preventing and correcting misbehavior; using consequences to improve behavior. Teaches self-control and how to stay calm.
  • Destination Dads-Inside Out Dads: Incarcerated fathers get tools they need to become more involved, responsible, and committed in the lives of their children.
  • Destination Dads-Within My Reach: Critical and concrete tools are provided which help participants improve interactions with those who matter in their lives. Subjects are knowing yourself first, smart love, and making your own decisions.
  • Domesti-PUPS: Participants in Domesti-PUPS train dogs to become service animals for persons with disabilities, pet therapy programs, classroom dogs, and education programs.
  • Getting It Right: This is an individualized, cognitive behavior program provided for inmates in Restrictive Housing working to step down into the general population.
  • Kairos: A leadership experience from a Christian perspective.
  • Marriage Builders Program: Married couples come together to strengthen their marriages.
  • Prison Fellowship Academy: This 12-month program operates in a mission-specific housing unit and focuses on cognitive restructuring with faith-based content.
  • Restorative Justice: This program, hosted by the Community Justice Center, emphasizes the importance of repairing harm caused by criminal behavior.
  • Restrictive Housing Peer Mentoring Program: This pilot program will provide individuals assigned to longer term restrictive housing (LTRH) status access to trained peer mentors from general population inmates, as a means to aid them in transitioning to the general population and increasing their chances of succeeding.
  • Second Chance Pups: selects inmate volunteers to train dogs in basic obedience while providing human socialization and interaction with other dogs.
  • The Challenge Program: Mission Specific Housing that provides a controlled and highly structured alternative to restrictive housing for individuals who have demonstrated an institutional history of violent and/or Security Threat Group (STG) behavior. TCP is incentive-based and requires participants to engage in non-clinical programming and meet behavior expectations to progress through each phase.
  • Thinking for a Change: a high-level cognitive behavioral program developed by the National Institute of Corrections. The program uses role playing to concentrate on changing the criminogenic thinking of offenders.
  • Transformation Project: a transition and reentry program aimed at promoting positive behavior during incarceration and preparing participants for transition back into the community. Self-study modules are available for incarcerated individuals in long-term restrictive housing.


  • Adult Basic Education: assists adult incarcerated students work toward high school equivalency, or refresh skills regardless of diploma status.
  • College Courses: offered through various universities/colleges and correspondence courses. Currently, college classes are provided by grant funded providers and/or at the individual's own expense.
  • ESL/ELL: English as a second language (ESL) is designed to aid those students not fluent in English learn to speak, read, hear and write the language so they can better function in society.
  • High School: NDCS operates its own school district with a high school. Students of all ages may attend high school classes. Individuals under 22 who have not graduated from high school are required to be in school. Students over 22 need to go through an application process.

Pro-Social Activities

  • 7th Step: a self-betterment club that allows members to discuss and work on issues that hold them back from their best selves. Addresses issues that participants are interested in working on.  Topics can include drug use, anger, family issues and more.
  • AA (Alcoholics Anonymous): an organization which encourages members to read, and listen at meetings using the program as an opportunity to face the truth and become accountable for their addiction to alcohol.
  • Advanced Hero's Journey Program: Participants write their own story with themselves as the main character. 
  • Circle of Concerned Lifers: This club is organized and operated by a group of individuals serving lengthy or life sentences, with the focus on mentoring others and lowering recidivism. The club's goals and activities encourage a purposeful life and promote a healthier culture within the facility. 
  • Harambee African Cultural Organization (HACO): This self-betterment club provides an opportunity to explore the root of the African American culture and heritage, including the past, present and future.
  • Lifer's Club: Provides a useful medium for lifers to work together toward constructive goals.
  • MATA Club (Mexican Awareness Through Association): Participants in this self-betterment club learn about the religious, cultural aspects, arts, customs, crafts, language, and the heritage of the Hispanic people.
  • Narcotics Anonymous: encourages its members to attend meetings, read and listen to speakers to face the truth and be accountable for their addictions.
  • Native Americans Spiritual and Cultural Awareness Group: NASCA is designed to help Native Americans express their uniqueness of cultural and spiritual practices. Participants are given the chance to learn how to sing, pray and dance from a Native perspective.
  • Outlaw's Journey Writing Program: gives participants the opportunity to be the hero of their life journey, and to be the main character of their own story.
  • Prison Fellowship: Provides faith-based speakers and mentoring to incarcerated individuals.
  • Religious Classes and activities: Variety of classes, workshops, and religious services designed to help inmates with support and spiritual development.
  • Sports/Recreation Activities: A variety of activities that encourage health pastimes are offered at all facilities. Please check with recreational specialists for more information.
  • Toastmasters: empowers people to improve communication and leadership skills, find the courage to change, achieve their full potential, and realize their dreams.
  • Veterans Group: aims to assist all veterans and honorary members, including veterans of the United States of America and its Allies Forces, in addition to their dependents and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans. The group provides opportunities for veterans to find employment upon release.

Vocational/Life Skills Programs

  • ABC Applied Construction Math: This program provides learning in the area of construction math such as division, decimals/percentages, reading measurements, calculating area, linear measures, angles, volume, solving for the unknown.
  • ABC Construction: Construction Technology: Introduces masonry, carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing.
  • ABC Construction: OSHA Construction: This program provides an overview of safety applications on a construction site as well as training on governmental regulations.
  • ABC Core Curriculum: This program includes basic construction safety; introduction to construction math, hand tools, power tools, construction drawings, rigging; communication skills; and material handling.
  • ABC OSHA General Industries: This course provides entry-level information about employee rights; employer responsibilities; how to file a complaint; how to identify and prevent job related hazards. 
  • Associated Linen Management Certification: Teaches skills in the area of laundry management. 
  • Cabinet Maker Apprentice: Apprenticeship for learning carpentry skills. 
  • Compassion in Action Pre-Release Education and Reentry Preparation: The class helps participants realize that although they made mistakes and poor choices, they are worthwhile and matter. That by investing in themselves through service, they can find fulfillment.  
  • Forklift Training: Training in how to use and operate a forklift.
  • Health Course: provides workshops on preventative health education and nutrition, such as Men's Birth Control; Date Abuse; Bullying; Gender Boxes; and Hygiene.
  • Laundry Machine Mechanic: Training in industrial mechanics
  • Materials Coordinator Apprenticeship: Training in material handling including shipping and receiving.
  • Mental Health Association Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): Discusses deescalation; decision making and consequences; how trauma has affected a person; how to overcome negative ways of dealing with stressful situations and crises. Need addressed: Life skills.
  • Reconnect - Success Prep: Helps participants examine behaviors and attitudes that may have contributed to their incarceration and focus on skills critical to reentry.
  • Released and Restored: provides life skills training for employment, finances, and consumer education. The program also focuses on helping individuals learn critical thinking skills, recognize distorted thinking, and develop techniques to address problem areas.
  • RISE: This program targets entrepreneurial-minded individuals and offers intensive leadership development, business plan competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation.
  • TRADE Program: The TRADE Program teaches conflict resolution; critical thinking; communication; personal finance; healthy relationships; basic computer; job preparation.
  • Welding Apprenticeship: Teaches welding skills.

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Careers at Nebraska State Penitentiary

If you are interested in a career with the Nebraska Department of Corrections and would like to work at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, you can find out more information by clicking here.