Foothills Correctional Institution

Mailing and Street Address: 5150 Western Avenue, Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-438-5585
County: Burke
Offender capacity:
858
Facility type: Male, Close and MinimumCustodies
 

LIMITED VISITATION RESUMES OCT. 1, 2020

The Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice will resume limited visitation at all state’s prisons effective Oct. 1, 2020 with significant restrictions due to the pandemic. Visitation was suspended in all state prisons on March 16, 2020, with the exception of legal and pastoral visits, to help prevent the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The health and safety of employees and offenders in our care are the top priorities of the Department of Public Safety. For information on coronavirus and how to protect yourself, please go the NC Department of Health and Human Services website.

To learn what else Prisons is doing to combat coronavirus, click here.

For more information on visitation, click here.

Directions

Take I-40 to exit 103. Go to the light and turn west towards Rutherfordton onto U.S. 64. Drive about a mile and take a left onto Salem Road. Drive another mile and take a left onto Burkemont Road. Drive another mile and turn left onto Western Avenue. As you round the curve, you will see the entrance to the prison.

SENDING MAIL TO OFFENDERS

Until Oct. 18, letters to an offender must be addressed to the prison where they are currently assigned. Addresses must include the offender’s prison ID number, which is often referred to as the OPUS number.

The letter should be addressed in this format:

Offender Name and OPUS Number
Prison Name
Prison Street Address or Post Office Box number
City, State and zip code of the prison location

Example: 
John Smith #1234567
Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution
600 Amity Park Road
Spruce Pine, NC 28777

Beginning Oct. 18, the N.C. Department of Public Safety has changed the way offenders receive mail. To help keep contraband out of prisons, all mail to offenders must be sent through a private company, TextBehind.

You must address mail to offenders in this way, or it will be returned:

Offender Name and OPUS Number
Prison Name
P.O. Box 247
Phoenix, MD 21131

Examples:

John Doe #1234567                      Jane Doe #7654321
Polk Correctional Institution          N.C. Correctional Institution for Women
P.O. Box 247                                P.O. Box 247
Phoenix, MD 21131                        Phoenix, MD 21131

The state’s prisons for women have been using TextBehind since February 2020.

Here’s how it works:

  • Offender mail is addressed and delivered to TextBehind.
  • TextBehind will make digital copies of the contents.
  • TextBehind will forward the digital files to the prison.
  • The prison will print acceptable pages and deliver them to the offender.

You may also download the TextBehind app to send mail by a smartphone or computer, avoiding paper mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

Offenders will continue to receive all acceptable contents of the mail you send — letters, photos, cards, artwork, etc. For more information about TextBehind, including a short video, click here.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.

TextBehind will not accept packages or legal mail. For more information on sending packages or legal mail, see the FAQs. You can also contact the prison where the offender is currently assigned.

All Prison facilities encourage family and friends to write to offenders. For security reasons, all incoming mail is checked to see if it contains any illegal or unauthorized items. Outgoing mail from offenders may also be checked.

Personal letters will not be read unless the officer-in-charge or designee has reason to believe the letter contains threats of harm or criminal activity, escape plans or plans to violate prison rules. If the officer-in-charge decides to delay or not deliver the letter to the offender, the offender will be told in writing the reason for this action.

Incoming mail from lawyers, any legal aid service assisting offenders, or state and federal court officials must be opened in the presence of the offender before it is checked for illegal or unauthorized items.

For information regarding sending money to offenders, ordering packages for offenders or about the offender telephone system, please click the links.

Overview

Foothills Correctional Institution is located on 180 acres 3.5 miles south of Morganton adjacent to Western Youth Institution. The first offenders entered the prison May 2, 1994.

Offenders in close custody are housed at the main institution between the ages of 18-25 years of age. The detached Minimum Custody Unit, located behind Western Youth Institution, houses adult minimum custody offenders.

Offenders will be sent to Foothills based on classification reassignment, promotions/demotions in custody, administrative transfer from other close security prisons, restrictive housing needs and security threat group needs.

Foothills provides 712 close security single cells. The prison is comprised of four buildings for offender housing and the administrative building that includes administrative offices, visiting area, recreation area, dining hall, vocational and academic classrooms, warehouse, programs, medical and mental health offices.

The main institution has 136 cells for restrictive housing, 192 designated for Security Threat Group Management, 234 for offenders in education and vocational programs and 150 for offenders assigned to jobs inside the prison.

The minimum custody unit received its first inmates in September 2003. The unit was renovated for offender occupancy after the IMPACT West Boot Camp program was eliminated in 2002 budget cuts. The Minimum Custody Unit also houses a chronic disease unit for the Western Region and provides 56 offenders to the Correctional Enterprise Broughton Laundry Operation.

Adult Correction and Western Piedmont Community College teachers provide education and vocational programs full-time for 200 offenders and part-time for another 100. Education offerings will include basic skill instruction for offenders who have less than an eighth grade education level and other classes to prepare offenders to take and pass the adult high school equivalency exam.

The prison's $31.3 million construction was funded in July 1990 as part of a $75 million prison construction program. The property, known locally as the Leonard farm, was donated to Adult Correction from the Department of Agriculture in March 1991. Grading work on the site began that month.

Foothills is a cashless facility in which an offender uses a debit type card to purchase canteen items from his inmate trust fund account. Foothills has a total of six canteens within the facility which are operated by offenders seven days a week. A cashless facility decreases the ability of funds to be misplaced by staff and also keeps offenders from using this as a bargaining tool while being housed with other offenders.

Foothills participates in an in-service training consortium with Western Youth Institution, Alexander Correctional Institution and several prison facilities in coordination with Western Piedmont Community College. Annually required training in courses such as firearms, self-defense, CPR and report writing is provided to all certified criminal justice staff.

The prison also provides victim sensitivity training to increase awareness of sexual victimization and to develop empathy towards the victims of sexual abuse, acceptance of personal responsibility for the offender's behavior and strategies to counter the offender's distorted thinking.

The Security Threat Group Management Unit has been in operation since July 11, 2005, at the main institution. This is an agency initiative funded by Federal Grant and matching State funds. This unit can house 192 offenders validated as Security Threat Group members. The intensive program treatment is dedicated to providing a controlled environment for disruptive offenders associated with validated gangs in North Carolina and breaking gang affiliation through renunciation and specialized programming. This program is provided to the highest level validated Security Threat Group offenders from across the state with the population age range of 18 and above.