Donaldson Correctional Facility
Donaldson Correctional Facility, is a maximum-security state prison for men located in Bessemer, Alabama, that was first opened in 1982 as the West Jefferson Correctional Facility. However, the name was changed after officer William E. Donaldson was stabbed to death by an inmate in 1990.
The current prisoner capacity is 1,760, including a 300-inmate segregation unit which is the largest in Alabama. Donaldson Correctional Facility specializes in housing inmates who have multiple or repeated violent offenses and who are not easily managed by the ADOC. The facility uses the segregation unit for solitary confinement.
Hundreds of the inmates at ADOC are serving life sentences without parole. Donaldson also has a death row for up to 24 prisoners.Donaldson Correctional Facility was the main setting in The Dhamma Brothers, a documentary about the establishment of a Vipassana meditation program for prisoners. The program has since been canceled, but you can currently view the documentary on Vimeo and iTunes.
Donaldson Correctional Facility
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Visiting Hours and Rules
Visiting hours at Donaldson Correctional Facility are on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 12:40 pm. However, inmates are allowed one visitation per month, and they are given a pre-arranged date.
You must talk directly to your incarcerated loved on to find out his visitation date and time.
Getting on the Approved Visit List
Authorized visitors who can visit an inmate include family, friends, and associates. You can't visit an inmate unless he puts you on the visiting list.
Everyone must fill out a visitor form to get on an inmate’s visiting list, and they must have a relationship with the inmate prior to incarceration. If a potential visitor does not have a prior relationship with the inmate, their request will be reviewed by the warden.
Once the inmate requests to add someone to their visit list, a correctional counselor will provide them with a visiting form, and the inmate is responsible for mailing these out and letting the potential visitor know that they need to fill out the form and return it to the institution staff.
The unit team will do a background check and determine if a visitor application is approved. They make their decision based on constructive and security factors. The process takes about a week, and the unit staff will notify the inmate when the requested visitor is approved or refused.
It is the inmate’s responsibility to notify the visitor of the decision, and the process is the same for both adult and minor visitors.
Basic Visit Procedures and Rules
If you are 16 years of age or older, you must bring a valid photo ID with you to the visit, like a state or federal ID card, driver's license, military ID, or current passport. Birth certificates are not valid forms of ID.
All visitors are subject to a visual and pat search by an officer. You will also be scanned by a metal detector and stamped with ink that can be detected with ultraviolet light.
Any item you bring into the facility will be opened and searched by a staff member, and anyone who refuses a search of themselves or their property will not be allowed to visit with the inmate. Visitors are required to return all unapproved item(s) to their vehicles.
Each adult visitor may enter the visitation check-in area with no more than $20.00, identification card, and car keys in a clear plastic bag. Visitors may also have the option of purchasing a $20.00 debit card.
Visitors must wear a complete set of undergarments.
Parents/legal guardians with babies will be allowed no more that four (4) disposable diapers and one (1) will be changed during searches. One (1) small baby blanket and two (2) plastic baby bottles will be allowed on the visiting area.
All dresses, skirts, and pants shall extend below the knee (females only). Splits/Slits must be knee length or lower (females only). All blouses and shirts must be long enough to cover the waist and chest area.
Visitors are not allowed to leave any items for an inmate.
100 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023-7299
General Phone Number
Phone: (205) 436-3681
Inmate Mailing Address(es)
Inmate Name and Alabama DOC Number
Donaldson Correctional Facility
Housing Unit/Bed Assignment Number
100 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023-7299
There is no limit on the amount of mail that inmates receive, but all correspondence must have the inmate’s complete name, registration number, facility name, and address.
- Inmates are allowed to receive up to two (2) books of stamps per week in the mail
- Inmates are allowed to receive up to four (4) pages of internet material per letter
- Excessive letters with consistent content shall be rejected
- Inmates are not allowed to receive any form of writing pads or tablets, torn out magazine pages, news clippings, or writing instruments in the mail
- Inmates are allowed to receive no more than four sheets of loose leaf paper and four envelopes per week in the mail
- Inmates are allowed to receive cashier checks and personal money orders from those individuals identified on the inmates approved funds list
- Personal money orders shall only be accepted from companies licensed by the Alabama Securities Commission as identified in the ADOC Accounting Manual
- Cashier checks and personal money orders received from unauthorized individuals or unapproved companies will be rejected
Paperback books, newspapers, and magazines must come directly from the publisher via a subscription or mail order that is prepaid.
Inmates may receive no more than two (2) books and four (4) magazines or newspapers or combination thereof per month.
All religious materials, such as books, pamphlets, brochures, and religious study courses, shall be sent to the inmate in care of the Chaplain, or institutional designee. The Chaplain, or designee, shall distribute the materials after approval and limits have been obtained from the Warden.
Your mail will be rejected if you mark the envelope with crayon, marker, stickers, glitter, or lipstick.
All photos must be no larger than 4"x6" and may not be a Polaroid photo or contain nudity or anything sexually suggestive.
You can send up to 5 photos in an envelope with a single stamp.
How to Call an Inmate
Alabama state inmates are not allowed to have cellphones and they can't receive inbound calls. They can make outbound calls during approved hours, and they must pay for them with the money that is on their personal account or call collect.
Approved hours are usually between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., but approved times vary by facility. Inmates are not allowed to make phone calls during count times and lockdowns.
All phone calls are limited to 30 minutes and will be monitored and recorded. The use of call waiting or three-way calling may result in the call being terminated.
Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has contracted with CenturyLink to provide calling and account billing services to inmates. Recipients of inmate calls may include friends, relatives, and attorneys.
Family members, friends, and attorneys can open a CenturyLink account to prepay for inmate calls. You can either make payments directly to the inmate’s calling account, or opt for a Prepaid Collect calling plan to accommodate calls to cell phones or accounts with credit issues.
The following restrictions may be applied by the ADOC to inmate calling:
- Limits on length of calls or calling availability hours; maximum call length is currently 30 minutes per call
- Limits on number of inmate calls or total monthly call minutes
- Call monitoring, recording, and inmate PIN validation (in order to place calls)
- Blocks on types of phone numbers (such as 800 numbers) or selected phone numbers
- Temporary or permanent denial of phone usage rights for such reasons as disciplinary problems or requests by a called party
How to Send Money
Sending money is one of most important things you can do for an inmate. The prison will issue each prisoner the minimum amount of clothing and hygiene items, and provide them with three meals a day. But, it is extremely difficult for prisoners to have any level of comfort when living with just the items that are prison-issued.
Four ways to send money to a prisoner at an ADOC facility:
- Use debit or credit card online at www.accesscorrections.com
- Use debit or credit card by phone (866)345-1884
- Use cash at a CashPayToday location
- Send money order and coupon by mail to:
- Secure Deposits - Alabama DOC
- PO Box 12486
- St. Louis, MO 63132
Inmates can receive outside funds which are deposited into their commissary accounts via Access Corrections. You can establish an account by visiting their website or calling (866) 345-1884. You can add money to an inmate’s account with a MasterCard or Visa Debit card, as well as credit cards.
After you establish an account, you can also add money at locations like Dollar General and Family Dollar, available through CashPayToday, with cash.
If you do not have a credit or debit card, and there is no CashPayToday location near you, you can send in a money order. First, create your account at accesscorrections.com and print out a deposit coupon and follow the instructions. You can also request a coupon while visiting Donaldson Correctional Facility.
Remember, any time you send money to an inmate you must always include their name and DOC number on everything.
Deposit Amount Online Phone Money Order Walk-In
$0.01 - $25.00 $2.95 $3.50 no charge $5.00
$25.01 - $100.00 $5.95 $6.50 no charge $5.00
$100.01 - $200.00 $7.95 $8.50 no charge $5.00
$200.01 - $300.00 $7.95 $9.00 no charge $5.00
*The fee will be deducted from your deposited amount.
There are a few things that inmates can spend their money on. This includes phone calls, emails, and commissary. The commissary is the prison store, where inmates can buy things like beverages, meals and snacks, OTC medications, stationary, personal hygiene items, clothing, or other miscellaneous products.
Please be aware that prisoners have their own economy inside the prison walls just like we do in the real world. Inmates that have a lot of money can do a lot of things both legal and illegal. Prisoners can potentially use the money in their account to buy things for other inmates in exchange for drugs and paraphernalia. This activity is illegal and can get an inmate in a lot of trouble.
Is important to keep track of how much money you are sending your incarcerated loved one, and watch out for any suspicious behavior.
Programs For Inmates
- Mental health treatment
- Substance abuse treatment
- Educational and Vocational programs
- Religious programs
- Self-Improvement programs
- Medical and dental care
Pictures of Donaldson Correctional Facility
Careers at Donaldson Correctional Facility
If you are interested in pursuing a career with the Alabama Department of Corrections, you can find available positions at Donaldson Correctional Facility by visiting the Alabama DOC website. The starting salary for a correctional officer is $30,852, but if you have an Associate’s Degree there is a 5 percent increase, and a Bachelor’s Degree will give you a ten percent increase.
- Thirteen Annual Leave Days
- Thirteen Annual Sick Leave Days
- Thirteen Annual Holidays
- Excellent Health and Dental Insurance
- Subsistence Pay for Certified Law Enforcement Officers ($12 per day worked)
- Longevity Bonus after 5 years of State Service
- Probationary, Promotional, and Possible Annual Merit Salary Raises
- Twenty-one days of Paid Military Leave Annually
- Uniforms Furnished
- State Employee Injury and Workman's Compensation Program
- Training and Professional Development Programs
- State Employee Credit Union
- Lateral Entry Program for Certified Law Enforcement Officers
- Alabama Correctional Employee Support Fund College Scholarship
- State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP)
- State Retirement Plan and Supplemental Retirement Investment Programs
Reviews from former employees at Donaldson Correctional Facility say that the pay and benefits are excellent, and it is a great place to work.