NRS 209.085 – Overview of the Authority and Responsibility Vested in the Warden

According to NRS 209.085, the term “warden” is defined as the administrative officer in charge of a correctional institution in Nevada. However, the actual responsibilities and oversight authority vested in a warden is far broader than the statutory definition.

A former warden was interviewed by Forbes Magazine and asked to define the job of Warden. He responded that position is effectively a “stewardship of the state facilities and tax monies” and that “our vision is to keep the public safe using those monies,” according to

Oversight of Correctional Facility Personnel

Since the warden holds the top supervisory position at a prison, one of their main responsibilities is to manage the personnel that work within the correctional facility. The prison personnel may include the following:

  • Correctional officers;
  • Guards;
  • Cooks,
  • Janitors;
  • Doctors and nurses

The warden also has the authority to interview job applicants and can recommend applicants to be hired or fired. The warden is also responsible for ensuring that there is equal opportunities for employment, as well as career advancement from within the prison. The warden must also sometimes deal with disciplining personnel if and when it is needed.

Oversight of Personnel and Inmate Safety and Security

The safety and security of the individuals occupying the prison, both personnel and inmates, is arguably the most important and challenging aspect of the position. Since the prison is a correctional facility, the warden must ensure that the prison is run in a safe and secure manner that follows both safety and security rules and regulations at all times. The warden needs to make sure they keep personnel and inmates safe, along with the general public as well. The warden must also monitor the safety and security systems of the prison while still keeping the facility itself in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations.

Responsible for Program Administration

As part of the rehabilitation of prisoners, wardens often have the role of implementing re-entry programs for inmates that provide them with the treatment and skills that they need to be rehabilitated into law-abiding citizens. For example, the warden has the authority to initiate drug-treatment programs in the prison or facilitate programs that help prisoners learn to read or get their GEDs.

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Responsible for Management Prison Funds

Since most prisons are funded with public tax dollars, the warden not only implements the programs for the prison, but also carries the responsibility of managing the funds that are available for these programs. The warden must not only use these funds to keep the public safe with a secure prison, but house, feed and clothe the prisoners that reside there as well. The warden must also ensure that money is available for inmate healthcare, education, and rehabilitation opportunities.

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