North Branch Correctional Institution

The North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) is a high-tech, maximum-security prisonㅡAKA a “hyper-max prison” for male inmates that is located near Cumberland, Maryland. It is operated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and can house approximately 1,500 inmates. The average sentence at this facility is 10.5 years.

This facility opened in 2003, and it was initially an extension of the Western Correctional Institution. In 2008, it became a fully independent operation.

After the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup closed in 2007, all of the state’s most serious offenders were housed at North Branch, including death row inmates. Maryland abolished the death penalty, so inmates with the death penalty have had their sentences commuted to life without parole.

When it was built, NBCI was one of the most technologically advanced prisons in the world. It was constructed using an “inverted fortress” style of building placement with a master control tower sitting in the middle of the complex.

The control tower is designed for maximum oversight with minimal staffing, and requires only two officers to maintain the entire security system. It has an unobstructed view of the entire grounds, as well as a complete surveillance of every area accessed by inmates.

The tower has control over all security doors, cameras, and even the flow of water into individual cells. Instead of one large cell block, NBCI features separate housing blocks all zoned and protected so the movement of inmates is eased to reduce the risk of riots and violence.

There are four housing units each with 256 cells to house the inmate population. Each cell is just over 60 square feet and is constructed of cast concrete that prevents seams in construction so inmates can’t hide contraband.

Cell door windows are made of ballistic-resistant glass to allow easier observation and enhance officer safety. The cell's furnishings are relatively minimal, as the beds are bolted directly into the concrete and the bolts are rounded down, so the inmates cannot remove them to use the beds to ram the doors. 

The toilets and sinks are brushed stainless steel instead of porcelain to avoid porcelain shards being broken off and being made into weapons. The piping behind the fixtures is also reinforced so if an inmate were to remove the fixture, they cannot escape. Even if they could successfully tunnel through, they would end up in the plumbing box which has a similar cell door. 

The cell doors are by far the most evolved feature of the prison. Instead of classic cell bar doors, the doors at NBCI feature micro-perforations to allow corrections officers to speak with inmates and vice versa. 

The cell doors also have small slots that can be opened to provide meals to inmates perceived to be too dangerous to be let out to the dining area; and to handcuff the inmates before exiting providing corrections officers maximum control over inmate movement. The door frames are filled with concrete to prevent tampering. 

The walls of the cells are coated with a high grade epoxy paint that is resistant to scratching, chipping and even acid. The perimeter of the facility consists of fifteen miles of inwardly-curved razor wire and motion sensors, as well as regular patrols and fence inspections. The staff uses trained dogs to find contraband, including cell phones.

Despite all of the advanced security measures, several homicides have occurred at NBCI.

The North Branch Correctional Institution has been featured on numerous TV shows, including MegaStructures, Lockdown, and Big, Bigger, Biggest.

Prison Insights

North Branch 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

The visiting hours at North Branch Correctional Institution are as follows:

General Population ~ two visits per week:

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Administrative Segregation ~ two visits per week:

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Disciplinary Segregation ~ one visit per week:

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Visitors must be registered by 12:30 p.m.

General Visiting Rules

Use of restroom facilities is prohibited during visitation. If either the inmate or a visitor requires the use of the restroom, the visit will be terminated at that time. Please keep this in mind when visiting with small children.

A visitor 16 years of age and older must present photograph identification.

Children (18 years of age and younger) visiting the inmate must be immediate family to either the inmate or visitor and must be accompanied by a person (18 years of age or older) who is on the inmate's visiting list.

A maximum of four visitors (including up to two children under the age of 18) will be permitted to visit an inmate at one time.

Visitors must secure all cell phones, tobacco products, and electronic devices in their vehicle.

Inmates are only permitted one visit per day.

Visitors under the age of 18 must be under adult supervision at all times while on State property to include parking areas.

Visitors (16 and older) must be on the inmate's visiting list.

Dress Code

All visitors, including children, must dress appropriately for visitation.  All clothing must cover you from the neck to the kneecaps.

The following types of clothing are not allowed to be worn:

  • tube tops, tank tops, or halter tops
  • see-through clothing
  • mini-skirts, mini-dresses, shorts, skorts, or culottes (at or above the kneecap)
  • form-fitting clothes such as leotards, spandex, and leggings
  • clothes that expose a person's midriff, side, or back
  • tops or dresses that have revealing necklines and/or excessive splits
  • coats, jackets, shawls, and scarves will be placed in an appropriate area (Exceptions will be made for religious headdress)
  • shower shoes or flip flops

Physical Address

North Branch Correctional Institution
14100 McMullen Highway, S.W.
Cumberland, Maryland 21502

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(301) 729-7400

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
North Branch Correctional Institution
14100 McMullen Highway, S.W.
Cumberland, Maryland 21502

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the North Branch Correctional Institution, but they do have access to phones and are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls during approved hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Maryland, please click here.

How to Send Money

North Branch Correctional Institution uses a Lockbox system for friends and family members to send inmates money. The Lockbox is a service provided by a bank where money orders received at the designated P.O. Box are picked up and delivered to the bank responsible for processing and depositing the incoming Money Orders sent to inmates.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services–Division of Correction only accepts Money Orders. NOTE: Cashier Checks, Personal Checks, Official Checks, Bill Pay Checks, Bank Checks, Non-Electronic Transfers, and Non-US Currency Checks/Money Orders will not be accepted.

You must include the following info on the money order:

  • The Inmate’s Name, Institution, and Inmate SID # (State Identification Number).
  • Sender’s Name and Address.

Please use Black or Blue Ink pen only on the money orders and neatly PRINT the required information.

Money Orders should be made payable to the Inmate (Full Committed Name; no AKA’s, etc) and sent to:

Inmate Name, DOC Number
North Branch Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 17111
Baltimore, MD 21297-0382

​Programs For ​Inmates

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services provides education, health, and training programs to help ensure offenders can become positively contributing members to the communities they return to. Inmates at the North Branch Correctional Institution can take adult basic education classes and earn their GED.  

The restorative justice program, Public Safety Works, provides employment skills as well as an opportunity for offenders to give back to the community. PSW is also a bridge to meaningful employment for the inmates, helping them develop basic everyday skills needed to be an effective employee, such as learning to respect a supervisor and working as a team.

Inmates can also works with animals in their restorative justice efforts by training service dogs for veterans and non-veterans alike, as well as training rowdy animals in preparation for adoption. 

When it comes to rehabilitation, other priorities include drug treatment – they launched the first ever correctional methadone maintenance program in the country – and education. The facility’s collaboration with Goucher College allows inmates to earn fully transferable college credits.

Pictures of North Branch Correctional Institution

Careers at North Branch Correctional Institution

If you are interested in a career with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services at the North Branch Correctional Institution, you can find job listings by clicking here. If you are interested in a career as a correctional officer, click here.