Barbara Ester Unit

The Barbara A. Ester Unit is a correctional facility of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), that is located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. 

This unit has a capacity of 580 inmates, and it is the first prison in the ADC dedicated to the re-entry of prisoners into society. It houses prisoners who are scheduled to be released within six months, and it also houses inmates who have been incarcerated because they violated their parole.

The goal of the Barbara Ester Unit is to provide training and resources for prisoners before they are released back into the community. It is designed to make the transition easier for inmates who have lost connection with the outside world.

The prison is named after Barbara Ester, a prison guard at the East Arkansas Unit who died on January 20, 2012 at the hands of a prisoner.

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Barbara Ester Unit

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Visiting Hours and Rules

All eligible inmates are entitled to visitation privileges with the following schedule:

  • Saturdays and Sundays are designated visitation days for all routine visits
  • There is no visitation on holidays unless the holiday falls on a regular visitation day
  • Hours for visitation are from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.

All Class I inmates will be permitted weekly Sunday visits for a maximum of four (4) or five (5) visits a month depending upon the number of Sundays.

All Class II, III and IV inmates will be permitted two (2) visits a month, either the first and third Saturday of the month or the second and fourth Saturday of the month as determined by the Unit’s schedule.  

Four visitors are allowed during any one visit, including children. However, the spouse of an inmate and all children, regardless of the number may visit.

Only two (2) approved adult visitors may accompany the minor children when the limit of four (4) is exceeded. Visitors are responsible for keeping children under control. Failure to control and supervise children is grounds for termination of the visit.

How To Get On The Approved Visit List

Each visitor must complete a visitation application and return it to the address listed on the form to the attention of the Barbara Ester Unit Visitation Clerk. The inmate is responsible for providing visitors with applications.

Applications are then processed, reviewed and either approved or denied by the Warden.

The screening process can take seven (7) days or longer. A criminal history check is done on all prospective visitors.

• Minor children, under age 18, may not be allowed to visit unless accompanied by an approved adult visitor, or upon proof of emancipation.

• Visitors age 12 and older are required to provide state issued photo identification for entry into an Arkansas correctional facility.

• Approved visitors may not be listed on more than one inmate's visitation list unless the visitor is confirmed as an immediate family member of each inmate and approved by the Warden or Center Supervisor.

General Visit Rules

Visitors’ clothing must be appropriate for the age and occasion, and they must wear undergarments. 

No halter-tops, tank tops, hats, shorts, mini-skirts/dresses, see-through clothing, leggings, jeggings, or camouflage attire may be worn. Brief cut or otherwise provocative clothing will not be permitted. No sleeveless tops are allowed because shoulders must be covered at all times.

Children ten (10) years of age and under will be allowed to wear shorts of an appropriate length.

Metal on clothing items should be avoided due to delays in clearing security equipment when additional search procedures are required including the removal of any items containing metal.

Visitors will be allowed to carry in only the following items:

  • clear plastic bag containing a small amount of cash for purchasing refreshments
  • prescription medication in the visitor’s name and in original pharmacy container
  • government issued identification
  • baby bottles, baby diapers, and diaper wipes
  • car keys
  • jewelry (being worn)

Physical Address

7500 Corrections Circle
Pine Bluff, AR 71603

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate’s Name and ADC Number
Barbara Ester Unit
7500 Corrections Circle
Pine Bluff, AR 71603

Full Name of Individual or Business
Street Address or P.O. Box Number
City, State and Zip Code

Envelopes that do not meet these requirements are considered contraband.

All books, magazines, newspapers and catalogs must be mailed directly from the publisher, bookstore, educational institution, or recognized commercial or charitable outlet.

No food or care packages may be mailed to an inmate. All incoming and outgoing inmate mail may be read, except for privileged correspondence with the inmate’s attorney; federal, state, and local court officials; any administrator of the Department of Correction, Board of Corrections, Parole Board; and the news media.

If the mail is marked as privileged, the correspondence will be opened, if at all, in front of the inmate and only inspected for contraband.

In an effort to reduce the introduction of contraband into the Barbara Ester Unit, inmates will only receive two sheets of 8½ x 11 inches of copy paper, which will include a copy of the envelope and three pieces of the correspondence on the four-sides of the two sheets of copy paper.

Only black and white copies will be made, and no cards, larger size paper, or anything else will be manipulated to fit on the copy paper. Additionally, any general correspondence that exceeds these limits will be treated as contraband; the inmate will have thirty (30) days to pay for return postage or it will be destroyed.

Please write all letters in dark ink only (black or blue ink), do not use pencils or yellow markers because it will reduce image quality.

The Inmate Package Program provides a way for you to purchase a food package for incarcerated family members or friends. During the program period, an inmate can receive up to $100 of goods through participating vendors.

Click on one of these links for a package vendor.

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at the Barbara Ester Unit are provided with telephones during approved hours. They can only make collect or prepaid calls to pre-approved numbers. If you would like to prepay for calls, you can set up an account on the Arkansas Department of Corrections website.

You can also prepay for calls by mail via money order with this form.

Inmates cannot have cellular phones. They are considered contraband, and if an inmate is caught with one they will be disciplined. Providing cellular phones or other electronic communication devices to an inmate is a felony in Arkansas.

Inmates cannot have calling cards. The department has a contract with a telephone service provider and calling cards are not part of that contract.

If you want to have your name removed from an inmate’s call list, send a letter to the warden and request that your number be removed from the inmate’s list.

You can report all threatening calls to the warden. Calls are recorded and can easily be monitored by the Department of Correction.

To relay an urgent message to an inmate, notify the chaplain or mental health office about the emergency and a message will be delivered to the inmate. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Arkansas, please click here.

How to Send Money

Sending Money Orders By MAIL:

If sending money via mail, you must send it directly to Inmate Banking at this address:
Arkansas Department of Correction:
Trust Fund Centralized Banking
P.O. Box 8908
Pine Bluff, AR 71611

Money orders should be made payable to the inmate’s name and ADC number. A “MONEY ORDER DEPOSIT SLIP” must be completed and sent with each money order.

Sending Money ONLINE:
Family and friends can send money online through the ONLINE INMATE DEPOSIT SERVICE. This method requires a credit card and involves a small processing fee.

Sending Money By PHONE:
Family and friends may also send money by phone at 1-866-250-7697.This method requires a credit card and a small processing fee.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Advanced Principles and Applications for Life (APAL) Program

Advanced PAL is an 18 month pre-release program that combines pre-release with the PAL program.

The PAL Program (Principles and Applications for Life) includes worship services, religious materials, and counseling services, to all inmates within the ADC, by community involvement of outside representation.

The PAL (Principles & Application for Life) program covers Principles for Daily Living, Character Qualities, Commands to Live By, Uprooting Anger and other curriculum designed to incorporate abiding change into how to approach everyday decisions and life, financial affairs, becoming a leader/servant in your home, community, church, parenting, etc.

  • GED Program

GED classes are offered at Barbara Ester Unit and the Board of Correction mandates attendance for all inmates without a GED or high school diploma unless they are unable to participate due to health reasons.

  • Preparing for Success

Attempts to ease the transition of inmates into the community and enhances the probability of their success through proper preparation for a successful return to the community.

  • Substance Abuse

A 4-to-6 month residential treatment program, based on cognitive/reality therapy of treatment for chemical dependency utilizing a modified therapeutic community. Subprograms include:

  • Chemical Dependency/Pharmacology Classes
  • Encounter Group Therapy
  • Relapse Intervention
  • Addiction/Criminal Thinking Reduction
  • Reality Therapy
  • Focus Groups
  • Issue Groups
  • Pro-Social Development
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Groups
  • Journaling
  • Think Legacy Program

The Think Legacy Program is voluntary program that inmates can sign up for when they are 6 to 18 months from their release date.  Think Legacy Reentry provides housing of like-minded individuals that are about to transition back into communities as returning citizens. 

The Think Legacy Program focuses on “key” core areas that are evidence based and will assist them with Employment Readiness, Community Resources, Social Skill Readiness, Mentoring, Cognitive Behavior Awareness through “Thinking for a Change,” Victim Impact, Budgeting, Life Skills, Healthy Relationships and Family Reunification.

  • Vo-Tech Computer Program

Job skills training program developed and managed by Riverside Vo-Tech and funded through the Department of Workforce Education.

  • Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE) Program

WAGETM is a work readiness program administered by the Adult Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education. The program is designed to ensure that unemployed and underemployed Arkansas have the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.

WAGETM includes 112 basic skills competencies based on the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) which have been determined as essential by the nation's and Arkansas' employers.

Pictures of Barbara Ester Unit

Careers at Barbara Ester Unit

If you are interested in pursuing a career with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, you can find available positions at the Barbara Ester Unit by visiting their website.