It no longer has the distinction of being the oldest active prison west of the Mississppi River, because the Missouri State Penitentiary is no longer in service. Actually, the prisoners moved from the old prison to the new one just outside Jefferson City in mid-September. It now has been officically decommissioned in a simple ceremony on its grounds. Former Corrections Department spokesman Tim Kniest says he first entered the prison in 1974 and made a walk with a Corrections Officer for two to three hours. The Missouri State Penitentiary opened in 1836, 15 years after Missouri became a state, the same year the Alamo fell.