Tyrrell Prison Work Farm (OPERATIONS SUSPENDED)


Effective October 14, 2019, offenders have been relocated to other minimum custody facilities due to regional staffing shortages.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 840, Columbia, NC 27925
Street Address: Snell Road, Columbia, NC 27925
Phone: 252-796-1085 
County: Tyrrell
Offender capacity: 620
Facility type: Male, Minimum Custody


To prevent the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), prison visitation was suspended as of Monday, March 16, 2020. The health and safety of employees and offenders in our care are the top priorities of the Department of Public Safety. THIS IS NOT A STATEWIDE LOCKDOWN OF PRISONS. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have on offender families and friends. Visitation will resume when conditions are deemed safe.

For information on coronavirus and how to protect yourself, please go the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website http://www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

For information on what other moves Prisons is making to combat coronavirus, click here


Sending Mail to Offenders

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, and state and federal court officials must be opened in the presence of the offender before it is checked for illegal or unauthorized items. 

Letters to an offender 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
Tyrrell Prison Work Farm
P.O. Box 840
Columbia, NC 27925

For information regarding sending money to offenders, ordering packages for offenders and the offender telephone system, please click here


From Winston-Salem/Greensboro: Follow Interstate 40 East to Raleigh. Take exit 301 toward Rocky Mount (I-440) and get off on exit 14 (I-495) toward Rocky Mount/Wilson. This Stay on U.S. 64 East to Williamston and continue to Columbia. When coming into Columbia, go through the stop light. Go one block amd turn left at Road Street. Follow this road for 3 ½ miles to Snell Road. Turn right on Snell Road to Tyrrell Prison Work Farm.

From Manteo: Follow US 64 West to Columbia. Turn right on Road Street and follow above directions. 

From Elizabeth City: Follow US 17 South to Highway 37. Turn left and follow to US 64 East. Turn left on Highway 64 East and follow to Columbia. Then follow above directions.


Tyrrell Prison Work Farm is a minimum-security prison for adult males located on 200 acres of land near Columbia.

The $9 million facility was the second prison work farm constructed in North Carolina. The first was the Dan River Prison Work Farm in Yanceyville. Both facilities, built by prison work crews, are designed to emphasize offender work.

The work farm houses more than 500 offenders who are part of the community work program in agricultural production at the prison's 103-acre farming operation or in other institutional jobs. The prison operates with staff representing custody, food service, medical, maintenance, programs, fiscal and administrative.

In the Community Work Program, a correctional officer supervises a squad of up to 10 inmates in short-term manual labor projects for public agencies. The prison's farming operation provides produce grown in fields and greenhouses by the prison. Broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers are grown in the fields, while the greenhouses provide a year-round supply of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The modern and unique architecture of this facility differs markedly from traditional prison structures and was designed to be built and maintained at less cost. The physical plant consists of an administration building, central complex buildings comprised of food service, staff offices, visiting area, clothes house and central control office, segregation building and produce warehouse. The dormitory is 60,000 square feet which contains 10 offender housing areas, 10 day rooms, two canteens, 10 shower and lavatory areas, medical and programs departments, barber shop, library, classroom, chaplain's office and two control rooms.