Kentucky State Penitentiary

The Kentucky State PenitentiaryㅡAKA the “castle on the Cumberland” - is located near Eddyville in Lyon County, and it is the Department's oldest and only maximum-security facility.  It opened in 1889 and it was the second prison built in the state. Kentucky State Penitentiary houses the state’s male Death Row Inmates and is the only prison in the commonwealth with supermax units.

The mission of KSP is to operate an adult male maximum-security institution by providing care, custody and control in a safe and secure environment. The programs are directed at moving the inmate to a less secure institution based upon his demonstrated conduct, program performance, and need. 

By encouraging the individual inmate to help himself, it will enhance his opportunity to return to the community as a responsible citizen.

In addition to the main facility, there is a small minimum-security unit outside the walls of the Kentucky State Penitentiary whose inmates have work assignments throughout the facility & grounds. Inmates in the minimum-security unit are given additional privileges, including fishing in Lake Barkley.

Five distinct custody levels make up the inmate population, and they wear a specific color uniform based on their custody level. The general population wears khaki, protective custody wears kelly green, administrative segregation wears canary yellow, death row wears scarlet red, and minimum-security wears dark green.

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Visiting Hours and Rules




​General Population and

Outside Detail

​Saturday and


​7:30am to 1:45pm

(except 1st and 3rd Saturdays)

​Protective Custody

​Friday and 1st Saturday

of Each Month

​7:30am to 1:45pm

​Special Security Unit

(Death Row)

​Thursdays and 3rd Saturday of Each Month

​7:30am to 1:45pm


Registration time for above listed units:  7:15am to 10:00am

If visitors for the above listed units need to leave early, they must do so by 12:45pm or stay until visitation is over (1:45pm)

Segregation–Thursday ONLY, two hours as scheduled

Registration time for Segregation:   30 minutes prior to the visit.

NOTE:  Segregation visits are non-contact by appointment.  Written approval must be obtained seven days in advance of the visit from the Deputy Warden of Security.


General Rules

All visitors must be on the inmate's approved visitation list. Approved visitors may include unlimited immediate family, three other adults, and children of the immediate family.

Visits may include three adults and an unlimited number of children. It can last up to two hours.  Time starts when the inmate arrives.

Dress Code

A visitor must comply with the dress code for visiting.  The officer in charge may deny a visit if the visitor is not properly attired in accordance with the code.

  • Footwear must be worn.
  • For a female visitor:  a. A dress, skirt, blue jeans, pantsuit, blouse, and shirt is considered appropriate.  Shorts that extend to at least mid-thigh are allowed  b. Undergarments, including bra and underwear, must be worn at all times  c. Underwear must be worn if a visitor wears pantyhose  d. A slip must be worn if a visitor wears a dress or skirt  e. Clothing that does not completely cover the midriff, cleavage, or breasts is not acceptable  f. Halter-tops, hot pants, short-shorts, mini skirts, leggings, spandex pants, see-through clothing, muscle shirts, and sleeveless dresses or blouses are not allowed; andA dress or skirt may have a two-inch split in the back only; and the skirt or dress must not be shorter than two inches above the knee.
  • For a male visitor:  a. Underwear must be worn  b. Long pants, mid-thigh length, or Bermuda shorts and a long or short sleeve shirt is considered appropriate  c. A tank top, cutoffs, muscle shirt or see through clothing is prohibited.
  • Clothing, hats, insignia, or emblems considered inflammatory or obscene is prohibited.
  • A visitor can’t wear jewelry except a wedding band.

What can you bring to a visit?

A visitor may bring in only the items listed below:

  • Photo Identification
  • Car keys (without keychain or electronic door devices)
  • $40.00 per person for vending machines
  • One small, clear plastic change purse (no billfold)
  • One pair prescription eyeglasses
  • One coat
  • Necessary medication that shall be in an authorized container

A Visitor with a baby may bring the following

  • Three disposable diapers
  • One small package of baby wipes
  • Two clear plastic baby bottles or sippy cups
  • One pacifier
  • One baby blanket

Physical Address

Kentucky State Penitentiary
266 Water Street
Eddyville, Kentucky 42038

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Kentucky State Penitentiary
266 Water Street
Eddyville, Kentucky 42038

All incoming mail must be sent via the US Postal Service and is subject to be inspected or read to determine if contraband is enclosed or any rule violation has occurred.

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Kentucky State Penitentiary, but they do have access to a phone during assigned times and are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Kentucky, please click here.

How to Send Money

With JPay, you can send money to KYDOC inmates, and next-day deposits are as low as $2.75.

  • Online at to send money in minutes with your credit or debit card.
  • JPay Mobile App allows you to send money anytime, anywhere by downloading the free app for iPhone or Android.
  • Call 800-574-5729 to speak with a live JPay agent, 24/7.
  • Send cash with MoneyGram at walk-in locations including CVS and Walmart (receive code 1232).

​Programs For ​Inmates

Academic School

The school is an adult basic education program designed for the inmate student encompassing literacy through a general equivalency diploma. It is offered to General Population and Protective Custody Inmates, with an average total enrollment of 60 inmates.

Night School

An after hours education program designed to allow inmates with daytime work assignments the opportunity to attend school and work toward a general equivalency diploma. Approximately 15 General Population Inmates attend this class.

Adult Technical Education

Post secondary vocational education is available in three areas:  Carpentry, Auto Body, and a Masonry Program. These programs are available to General Population inmates.

Pre-Release Program

This 16-hour program is offered to inmates who are nearing expiration of their sentence or parole eligibility date. It includes components regarding parole issues, public assistance, parenting, employment, and self-development. It is designed to provide skills to successfully reintegrate inmates into society and help them seek employment and assistance.

Sex Offender Treatment Program

A Kentucky Department of Corrections Program presented by the Division of Mental Health.  The program is designed to provide mandated treatment to eligible sex offenders through a series courses which focus on inmates taking and maintaining personal responsibility through obtaining a thorough understanding of past sexually abusive behavior and development of a prevention plan to avoid relapses.

Drug and Alcohol Education Program

This program is presented by the trained mental health staff and provides a pre-treatment orientation to recovery from dependency of all types. The training program presented is titled “Life Without a Crutch.”

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)

MRT is a cognitive-behavioral, group centered program. It involves the development and maturation of the moral decision making process. The program is designed to raise the level of the participant’s moral choices to an appropriate age level for a normal adult.  The program is open-ended (progresses at his own pace) and usually takes four to six months to complete. The program is available to General Population inmates and inmates assigned to the outside detail. Inmates participate on a voluntary basis.

Individual Counseling

Available through the Division of Mental Health Psychologist assigned to the Kentucky State Penitentiary.

Inmate Self-Help Organizations

AA/NA, NAACP, and Protective Custody Substance Abuse Club.

Inmate Work Programs

KSP offers ample opportunity for inmates to obtain employment in a wide variety of areas. Kentucky Correctional Industries operates a Garment Plant and a Bag Plant operation. Food service, landscaping, legal aide, janitorial, and numerous other areas offer employment opportunities.

Pictures of Kentucky State Penitentiary

Careers at Kentucky State Penitentiary

If you are interested in a career with the Kentucky Department of Corrections at the Kentucky State Penitentiary, you can click here for more information.