Foothills Correctional Institution

Correctional Institution

5150 Western Ave
Morganton NC 28655
Fax: 828-438-5598
Custody level: Close/Minimum
Occupancy: 1994


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The 920-bed Foothills Correctional Institution is located on 180 acres 3.5 miles south of Morganton adjacent to Western Youth Institution. The first inmates entered the prison May 2, 1994.

Inmates in close custody are housed at the 712-bed main institution between the ages of 18-25 years of age. The detached Minimum Custody Unit, located behind Western Youth Institution, houses 230 adult minimum custody inmates.

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

Foothills provides 712 close security single cells. The prison is comprised of four buildings for inmate 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 segregation, 192 designated for Security Threat Group Management, 234 for inmates in education and vocational programs and 150 for inmates assigned to jobs inside the prison.

The 230 bed Minimum Custody Unit received its first inmates in September 2003. The unit was renovated for inmate occupancy after the IMPACT West Boot Camp program was eliminated in 2002 budget cuts. This unit provides community support for inmate labor through four (4) community Work Squads, (2) DOT squads and one (1) litter crew. The Minimum Custody Unit also houses a 48 bed chronic disease unit for the Western Region and provides 56 inmates to the Correctional Enterprise Broughton Laundry Operation.

DOC and Western Piedmont Community College teachers provide education and vocational programs full-time for 200 inmates and part-time for another 100. Education offerings will include basic skill instruction for inmates who have less than an eighth grade education level and other classes to prepare inmates 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 the Department of 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 inmate 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 inmate workers, seven days a week. A cashless facility decreases the ability of funds to be misplaced by staff and also keeps inmates from using this as a bargaining tool while being housed with other inmates.

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 inmates validated as Security Threat Group members. The intensive program treatment is dedicated to providing a controlled environment for disruptive inmates 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 inmates from across the state with the population age range of 18 and above.

Visitation schedules for Regular population inmates are as follows:

Tuesday thru Friday:
8:30am to 10:30am
1:30pm to 3:30pm

8:00am to 9:00am
9:30am to 10:30am
1:00pm to 2:00pm
2:30pm to 3:30pm

Visitation for Minimum Custody Unit visits on Sunday beginning at 8:30 AM or 1:30 PM, according to the first letter of the inmate’s last name.

Note: The visiting schedule for MCU alternates every 2 months.

All visitors must submit a completed application, with picture identification to visit the inmate they desire to visit. Call for appointments must be made at least three (3) days in advance of the requested visitation session and can be made up to two (2) weeks in advance of the requested visitation session.

Inmates housed in segregation and inmates designated as non-contact visits are not allowed visits on Saturdays. Visits for these inmates may be scheduled Tuesday through Friday 8:30am to 9:30am or 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Visitors should arrive at the Gatehouse at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled visitation time, bring proper ID, and will be subjected to a “routine” search of their personal and possessions prior to the visit.

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.