Columbia Correctional Institution

Columbia Correctional Institution is a level V Florida state prison for men located in Lake City, Florida. It has a maximum capacity of 1,427, and it houses inmates in minimum, medium, and closed-custody. This facility also has an annex which houses another 1,566 inmates.

Like other Florida correctional institutions, there has recently been numerous inmate and guard deaths. In 2012, officer Ruben Thomas was stabbed to death by an inmate, and in 2016 both an officer and inmate were found dead at the facility. 

When Florida state representative David Richardson visited the prison in 2016, many inmates complained about the conditions. After his tour, Richardson called the facility, “unfit for human habitation.”

One notable inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution is Jonathan Silva whose case was featured on A&E’s Killer Kids. He was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his friend Jerry Lee Alley.

Prison Insights

Columbia Correctional Institution

Go back

What Do Inmate Families Think?

Go back

What Do Former Inmates Think?

Go back

What Do Employees Think?

Go back
Sorry, there are no insights for this section of the facility yet.
Overall Score = /10
Total Respondents =

Visiting Hours and Rules

If you would like to visit an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, the inmate must request that you be added to his visiting list, and you must be approved by the Florida Department of Corrections.  You will be sent a visitor applicationㅡwhich is available in both English and Spanishㅡand you must fill it out completely before sending it in. 

Anyone who is 12 or older must complete this form if they wish to visit an inmate.

Do not attempt to visit an inmate before you are approved because you will not be allowed to enter the institution.

Visiting hours at Columbia are on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. and visitors will not be processed after 2:00 p.m. 

All minor visitors, 17 years of age or younger, must be accompanied by an approved adult on the inmate’s visiting list.

Visit procedures

Before you can visit with an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, you will be subject to questioning and numerous searches. First, the officers will ask if you are bringing in contraband, and then you will have your property searched before you go through a metal detector and a Magneto Static Detector. After that, you will be subject to a pat search before finishing up with a barrier search that is conducted by a canine handler. 

Do not attempt to bring in contraband. If you attempt to bring in items like cell phones, tobacco, weapons, or drugs, you could be arrested.

Once you have cleared all of these steps, you will be allowed to enter the visiting park. 

What you can bring to a visit

You are allowed to bring in a maximum of $50.00 ($1.00, $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00 denominations only or silver change) for the vending machines, and you can carry the money in a small wallet or pouch.

The only other item you are allowed to bring with you is one car key. To avoid any problems, take the car key off of your keychain because you can’t bring in any other keys or a keyless entry device.

If you need medication during your visit, only bring the necessary dosage. All medicine must be in the original prescribed container and must be clearly marked. If you have a medical condition which requires injections, you can leave the visiting park and take the necessary medication in your vehicle, but you can’t bring in any needles or syringes into the visiting park.

The following items are allowed if you are bringing an infant to the visit:

A maximum of five diapers, three clear plastic baby bottles, or two sipper cups for toddlers, one clear plastic baby pacifier, three clear plastic jars of baby food with the original seal intact, and baby wipes or towelettes (in a clear plastic bag). Also, you may bring in an infant baby carrier (subject to search), one set of infant clothing, and one non-quilted baby blanket to keep the infant warm.

Dress Code

When you visit an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, please dress conservatively. If you wear any of the following items, you will not get in:

  • Halter tops or bra-less attire
  • Underwear-type t-shirts or tank tops
  • Fishnet clothing
  • Skin tight clothing
  • Shoes with removable parts
  • See-through fabric without an undergarment
  • Dresses, skirts, or shorts more than three inches above the knee
  • Clothing with a threatening picture or language
  • Camouflage
  • Any clothing with metal

Video Visitation

If you can’t travel to Columbia Correctional Institution, or don’t want to deal with the long process of entering the visiting park, you do have the option of video visitation, which is a service available through JPay. The visits can last up to thirty minutes, but you must be approved by the Florida Department of Corrections, and it does cost money.

Physical Address

Columbia Correctional Institution
216 S.E. Corrections Way
Lake City, FL 32025-2013

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DC Number
Columbia Correctional Institution
216 S.E. Corrections Way
Lake City, FL 32025-2013

You must use the US Postal Service when sending mail to an inmate. If you use couriers or delivery services, the mail will be refused. Also, always include the inmate’s committed name, DC number, and institutional address on all correspondence. A maximum of 15 pages is allowed for each letter, but do not glue, tape, or staple anything to the pages.

Greeting cards are also allowed, but they can’t have any electronic or non-paper parts. Pictures are permitted in inmate mail, with the exception of nude photographs, Polaroids, or anything larger than 8”x10.” 

You can send up to ten blank greeting cards, stationery, blank paper, or envelopes to your incarcerated loved one. You can also send a maximum of twenty first class stamps.

Inmates are not allowed to receive mail in boxes, padded envelopes, plastic bags, multi-layer packaging,envelopes that include metal parts, any package containing bubble wrap or packing peanuts, or card stock type envelopes (i.e. U.S. Mail Priority or U.S. Mail Express card board type).

Do not send non-paper items or put stickers on the envelope or correspondence. 

You also have the option of sending emails through JPay. The Florida Department of Corrections allows you to purchase a JP5 tablet for your incarcerated loved one. This tablet will allow the inmate to send and receive monitored emails (for a fee), and they can also purchase music, eBooks, and games.

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at Columbia Correctional Facility are not permitted to receive telephone calls, but they may place collect calls to approved numbers.

Inmate phone lists are limited to ten numbers, and they are only authorized to initiate collect calls to personal landline numbers and personal cell phone numbers. Collect calls to businesses are prohibited. Before an inmate is permitted to place a collect call, they must submit the telephone number, name, and address for verification and activation prior to being added to the inmate's approved call list.

For complete details on how to call an inmate in Florida, please click here.

How to Send Money

To send money to an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution, you must use JPay or visit a MoneyGram location.

  • Online or Mobile App: To send money with your credit or debit card, visit or download the JPay Mobile App that is available at the Apple App Store (for iPhones) and Google Play (for Android phones).
  • By phone: Call (800) 574-5729 to talk with a live JPay call center agent and send money with a debit or credit card. 
  • Mail a money orderㅡmade payable to JPayㅡwith a deposit slip to:

P.O. Box 260010
Hollywood, FL 33026

Money order deposit slip available in English here.

Hoja de Depósito para Giros Bancarios disponible en Español aqui.

  • Visit a MoneyGram location (including all Walmarts and CVS Pharmacies) and use receive code 5188. This method allows you to use cash.

Programs For Inmates

Academic Programs

  • Adult Basic Education
  • General Educational Development (GED)
  • Special Education Services
  • Title 1
  • Volunteer Literacy Program

Vocational Programs

  • PC Support Services

Chaplaincy Services

  • Chapel Library Program
  • Religious Education Classes
  • Worship Services
  • Independent Directed Study
  • Religious Holiday Observances

Institutional Betterment Programs

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Fresh Start Smoking Cessation
  • Law Library Program
  • Library Program
  • Music/Band
  • Wellness Education

Pictures of Columbia Correctional Institution

Careers at Columbia Correctional Institution

The Department of Corrections is the largest agency in the state of Florida, as well as the third largest prison system in the country. There are many positions available in the FDC, so if you are interested in a career at Columbia Correctional Institution, click here.