McPherson Unit

The McPherson Unit is an Arkansas Department of Correction (ADOC) prison located in Newport, Arkansas. This prison for women was established in 1988 with the capacity to hold a total of 971 inmates. The McPherson Unit houses Arkansas’ female death row.

Starting in July 1997, the McPherson Unit was under contract and managed by the Wackenhut Corrections Corp. (now GEO Group). However, in 2001, Wackenhut decided not renew the contract, and the McPherson Unit is now operated by the ADOC.

One former notable inmate was Christina Marie Riggs, who was convicted of the November 4, 1997 murder of her two biological children. She was executed on May 2, 2000 by lethal injection, and she was the first woman executed in Arkansas since 1845.

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McPherson Unit

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at the McPherson Unit are generally on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m. However, there is a rotating visitation schedule based on custody level, so before you go to the prison for a visit, talk with the inmate via phone or mail to find out the right weekend, day, and hour that they are scheduled to visit.

Class I inmates are allowed weekly Sunday visits, while Class II, III and IV inmates will be permitted two 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.

There is a maximum of four visitors per inmate during a visit, including children. However, an inmate’s spouse and all children, regardless of the number, may visit at one time.

How To Get On The Approved Visit List

If you would like to visit an inmate at McPherson Unit, the first step is to ask your incarcerated friend or loved one to mail you a visit application. Once you receive the application, you must fill it out completely and mail it to the McPherson Unit Visitation Clerk at the address provided on the form. Do not mail it back to the inmate.

Once the unit receives your application, it is processed, reviewed, and either approved or denied by the Warden. The application review process takes at least a week, and it includes a criminal background check.

The prison will not contact you about their decision. It is the inmate’s responsibility to let you know if you have been approved or denied.

General Visit Rules

Visitation privileges help maintain good morale and allow prisoners to maintain their relationships with friends and family while incarcerated. Of course, there are a lot of rules when it comes to visiting a friend or loved one in prison, and there are a few you need to be aware of ahead of time.

The first thing to remember is that everyone over the age of 12 must have a photo ID, and all children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an approved adult visitor.

The next thing to remember is leave everything in your car except for:

  • A clear plastic bag containing a small amount of cash for buying drinks and snacks
  • Prescription medication in the visitor’s name and in the original pharmacy container
  • Photo ID
  • Baby bottles, baby diapers, and diaper wipes
  • Car keys
  • jewelry (being worn)

There is a dress code for visitors, and it is extremely conservative. Avoid halter-tops, tank tops, hats, shorts, mini-skirts/dresses, see-through clothing, leggings, jeggings, sleeveless tops, or camouflage.

Before you enter the visiting area you will walk through a metal detector, and it is possible you will be pat searched. If you refuse, you will not be allowed to visit. McPherson Unit does randomly drug test visitors with an Ion Scanner, and a positive scan can lead to a search of you and your vehicle.

Do not bring in a cell phone or other electronic devices.

If you can’t successfully clear all entrance procedures, they will not allow you to visit and you may have your visitation privileges suspended.

Physical Address

McPherson Unit
302 Corrections Dr.
Newport, AR 72112

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate’s Name and ADC Number
McPherson Unit
302 Corrections Dr.
Newport, AR 72112

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

** Envelopes that are not addressed properly are considered contraband.

You can only send short letters to an inmate in the ADOC. If you want to send books, magazines, newspapers, or catalogs, they must be mailed directly from the publisher or vendor website like Amazon.

In order to reduce the flow of contraband into the McPherson Unit, the inmates don’t actually receive your letters. Instead, the staff makes photocopies of all inmate mail, and the prisoners receive two sheets of copy paper, which will include a copy of the envelope and three pieces of correspondence.

Since they only make black and white copies, be sure use dark ink only (black or blue ink).

You can’t mail food or care packages to an inmate. However, Arkansas is part of the Inmate Package Program where you can buy up to $100 of goods through participating vendors at different times throughout the year. If you are interested in participating in the program, please click one of the links below.

You can also send email and photos through, but you will need to open an account with them first before sending any correspondence.

All snail mail and email is subject to review by the facility staff prior to delivery, so make sure your content is appropriate.

How to Call an Inmate

How to Send Money

There are three different ways to send money to an inmate at McPherson Unit.

The fastest option is to use the ONLINE INMATE DEPOSIT SERVICE through the Arkansas Department of Corrections. You must have a credit or debit card to use this method, and it does have a processing fee. Prepaid cards and payroll cards are not accepted.

If you don’t want to use a credit or debit card, you can send a money order through the US Postal Service. Do not send a check or cash, and don’t mail it directly to the inmate. Instead, mail the money order along with a Money Order Deposit Slip to:

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 you must include their ADC number.

You can also send money to an inmate by phone by calling 1-866-250-7697. You will need a credit or debit card for this method, and there is a small processing fee.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Agriculture

This program allows inmates to be trained in work habits and to develop marketable skills in the areas of Vegetable Processing and Gardening.

  • GED Program

GED classes are offered at McPherson 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.

  • Think Legacy Program

The Think Legacy Program is a voluntary program that inmates can sign up for when they are 6 to 18 months from their release date.

The program focuses on 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

Job skills training programs developed and managed by Riverside Vo-Tech and funded through the Department of Workforce Education. Courses include Cosmetology, Horticulture, Computerized Accounting, and Business Technology

  • Sex Offender Female Treatment Program (SOFT)

The focus of SOFT is treatment of female inmates who have committed sexual offenses. All programs utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy in an attempt to reduce maladaptive thinking errors and increase appropriate behavior once released.

  • Substance Abuse Therapeutic Community Program (TC)

A 9-to-12 month residential substance abuse treatment program using a modified therapeutic community model.

  • Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP)

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

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)/Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Programs
  • Dance 2B Free
  • Female Intake Services
  • Hobby Craft
  • Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE)
  • Library/Law Library
  • Life Skills Programs
  • Mental Health Groups
  • Parenting
  • Quilts for Babies
  • Recreational Programming
  • Regional Maintenance
  • Residential Program Unit
  • Story Book Project

Pictures of McPherson Unit

Careers at McPherson Unit

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