Once the oldest operating prison West of the Mississippi River, the Missouri State Penitentiary now stands vacant. The state has officially decommissioned the prison, moving its 1,200 inmates to the new prison to its east, just outside Jefferson City. Associate Superintendent Mark Schreiber says many more prisoners used to call it home. The prison was opened in 1836, the year the Alamo fell. It has incarcerated such notable as Sonny Liston, Stagger Lee and James Earl Ray. Schreiber says the state used it well beyond what should have been its lifespan. He notes that after the 1954 riot, the State Highway Patrol called it antiquated.
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