Marion Correctional Institution

Mailing and Street Address: 355 Old Glenwood Road, Marion, NC 28752
Phone: 828-659-7810
County: McDowell
Offender capacity:
Facility type: Male, Close and Minimum Custodies


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.


Take Interstate 40 west to N.C. 226 (exit 86 Marion/Shelby) and drive south about one mile. Turn right onto the Old Glenwood Road. The prison access road is one-quarter mile on the left.


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

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


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.


Marion Correctional Institution currently operates as a combination close/minimum custody facility with 96 segregation beds. This facility houses adult male felons and is operated under the Unit Management concept. Offenders are assigned based on classification, reassignment, demotion in custody, administrative transfer from another close custody prison or segregation housing needs, and program needs.

The computer training center for the Western Region is on site. McDowell Technical Community College provides academic and vocational classes. Courses include adult education and preparation for the GED, and horticulture. Offenders may also participate in the Outreach Program through the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and earn college credits.

In an effort to assist offenders in bettering themselves, Cognitive Behavior Intervention classes are offered. Offenders may participate in courses such as Character Education, Reasoning and Rehabilitation, and Thinking for a Change. These courses offer offenders a different way of thinking their way through problems and offer them alternative thought processes to moral dilemmas.

Minimum custody offenders at can participate in the Father Accountability Program. This program lets offenders see how important the role of a father is to children and in the family. Offenders completing this course should return to their families as a better and more responsible fathers.

Offenders are afforded the opportunity to work on site or back in the community, where they provide needed services surrounding our prisons. Labor contracts are provided for governmental agencies to secure inmate labor and enhance services for the public. Offenders on work release have the opportunity to earn a wage working at a business in the local community. This allows offenders to develop job skills prior to release while paying any court-mandated fines and providing for their families.

The New Leash on Life Program rescues dogs from the animal shelter that otherwise would be euthanized and puts them through an extensive eight-week obedience training program provided by trained offenders. Once the dogs have “graduated,” they are adopted by families.

Many of the programs are offered with the assistance of community volunteers. These programs include structured recreational activities, Prison Fellowship, Yokefellows, substance abuse counseling, anger management, religions programs/activities, and self-improvement programs. Volunteers undergo training prior to being allowed to work with offenders. 

Marion CI was established as a result of a $200 million prison construction bond referendum approved by voters in 1990. It was funded in two stages. The first 520 cells were funded in July 1991 and reauthorized in July 1992 as part of a $30 million construction project in the $103 million prison construction program. During the 1994 special session, the General Assembly provided $5,358,900 for construction of a 192-cell housing unit addition.

In 1991, the McDowell County Commissioners purchased 125 acres formerly known as the Carl Holland Farm in the Rocky Pass community and donated the property to the state for construction of the prison.

Grading of the site began in March 1992 and construction was completed in January 1995. Offender housing assignments began in June 1995. Marion was originally designed as a 660-bed medium security adult male prison, but was redesigned as a close and medium security prison with a capacity for 930 offenders because the state needed more high-security prison cells.