Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center

The Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center is a mixed-security state prison for female inmates located in Vandalia, Missouri. This facility opened in 1998 and has the capacity to house approximately 2,076 inmates. It also houses the state’s female death row.

Since this is the state’s reception and diagnostic center for females, all female inmates are taken to this facility when they enter the Department of Corrections. The majority of females serve their sentence at WERDCC, but those from the western part of Missouri are transferred to the other women’s prison in the state — Chillicothe Correctional Center.

All Missouri inmates receive a JPay tablet when they enter a Missouri DOC facility. These tablets allow the inmate to send and receive emails, purchase music, movies, and games, access educational content, request services, and use offender phone services. 

The offenders must earn the right to purchase the premium and most desirable options on the tablet through good behavior. Research has shown that positive rewards lead to a safer environment for employees.

Notable inmates at this prison include Alyssa Bustamante, who has been serving a life sentence since she was 15 years old for killing 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten. Sandra Plunkett — whose case was featured on Snapped - is serving a life sentence for killing her husband. Patty Prewitt is also serving a life sentence for killing her husband. She’s been incarcerated since 1986, and there is a massive movement in the state pushing for a pardon on her behalf because there is ample evidence that she is innocent.

This is also the facility where our Prison Insight staff writer, Natalie, served four years for marijuana possession. She was roommates with Sandra Plunkett and took aerobics classes from Patty Prewitt.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at WERDCC are on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9:30 am — 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm — 6:30 pm. 

Visiting Applications

Before you can visit an inmate at WERDCC, you must fill out a visiting application and be approved by the Missouri Department of Corrections. You can access the online visiting application by clicking here. If you prefer a paper application, you will have to ask your inmate to mail you one.

Required Identification for Visit

All adult visitors are required to show photo ID, such as a current driver’s license or Department of Revenue identification card. Visitors age 13 years and older are required to show a current school photo identification card that includes their name, or a valid federal or state government-issued identification card before admission to the visiting area. Visitors under 18 years old, unless married to the offender, must be accompanied by an authorized adult visitor.

Search of Visitors

General searches of visitors are conducted. A metal detector may be used to detect weapons or other contraband. This may be completed by a walk-through metal detector or a hand-held wand.

Allowed Items at Visit

Only coins for use in the vending machines and specific medical and infant supplies are allowed during visits. Gum, wallets, purses, and other items may not be brought to visits. Small lockers are available to store your purses, wallets or keys, if necessary, however, it is requested you bring only necessary items and secure the rest in your vehicle.

Coins may be brought in a clear sandwich bag or transparent plastic pouch for use in the vending machine. 

Medications or medical equipment needed to maintain life, such as nitroglycerin, insulin and insulin supplies, oxygen or asthma inhalers, may be taken into the facility in their original container and only in the necessary dosage for the visiting period. You should notify staff upon your arrival of the need for medication during visitation.

When you bring a small infant or child, one clear carry-all for infant supplies is allowed. This bag may contain:

  • Up to six diapers
  • One blanket,
  • Three, clear, plastic bottles of prepared infant beverage
  • One clear plastic no-spill toddler cup
  • Three unopened vendor containers of baby food
  • One, plastic pacifier, teether and/or rattle
  • One small plastic spoon 
  • One unopened package of baby wipes

Dress Code

  • Clothing should not be tight, transparent, or revealing. 
  • No gang, racial, inappropriate or inflammatory language or symbols are allowed and clothing may not have a camouflage design. 
  • Skirts, dresses, and shorts may be no shorter than two inches above the top of the kneecap. 
  • Wrap-around or slit skirts or dresses are not permitted. 
  • Holes or slits are not permitted in pants. 
  • Shirts, blouses and tops must cover the chest and stomach and have sleeves that cover the shoulders, without display of cleavage or midriff. 
  • Appropriate undergarments and shoes must be worn at all times. Undergarments with wire or metal supports are discouraged because you may be required to clear a metal detector. 
  • No headwear is allowed except for verified religious purposes and is subject to search.

Physical Address

Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center
1101 E. Hwy 54
Vandalia, MO 63382

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/GL26B9UdGBqPqjTS9

General Phone Number

​(573) 594-6686

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, DOC Number, and Housing Unit
Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center
1101 E. Hwy 54
Vandalia, MO 63382

The Missouri DOC requires you to send pictures and personal correspondence in separate mailings. Any envelope received, which contains both pictures and personal correspondence, will be returned to the sender.

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center, 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 Missouri, please click here.

How to Send Money

Each inmate has an account for personal funds that can be used to buy items from the prison canteen. You may deposit funds into an offender’s account via electronic transfer through JPay. You can use their website or their mobile app to deposit money, or you can call 1-800-574-5729.

You also have the option to mail a money order or cashier’s check to be deposited to an offender’s account. It must be made payable to the Missouri Department of Corrections and be accompanied by a DOC deposit slip. Each offender has access to deposit forms and can send the slips to you at any time. All money orders must be sent to the following address:

Offender Finance Office
Missouri Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 1609
Jefferson City, MO 65102

It is important that you supply all information requested on the deposit slip in blue or black ink. If you have questions, call the Offender Finance Office at 573-526-6445.

You can also deposit cash into an inmate’s account via MoneyGram. The receive code for Missouri DOC is 2439. You can learn more by clicking here.

Programs For Inmates

  • Adult basic education (ABE)

ABE is an integral part of the rehabilitative process. Offenders who have not yet earned high school diplomas or equivalency certificates upon incarceration are required by statute to participate in adult basic education classes.

  • Higher Education

The Department of Corrections has partnerships with colleges and universities including Washington University, St. Louis University, Rockhurst University and State Technical College of Missouri. Through these partnerships, offenders and staff have the opportunity to take college courses and earn credits toward a degree.

  • Vocational Classes

WERDCC offers Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA), Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, and Professional Gardening

  • Mental Health Services

All offenders are evaluated during the intake process at the reception and diagnostic centers. Mental health screening and testing determine whether treatment is appropriate and what assistance offenders will need while incarcerated. Additionally, any offender may request mental health services at any time during incarceration.

  • Puppies for Parole

Puppies for Parole operates through partnerships with animal shelters and animal advocate groups statewide. In Puppies for Parole, selected offenders have the opportunity to become trainers to rescue dogs. Offenders teach dogs basic obedience skills and socialize them, making them more adoptable. Once the dogs have successfully completed the program, they are adopted through their original shelters.

  • Substance Abuse Treatment

Institutional treatment centers (ITC) provide structured comprehensive substance use disorder treatment for incarcerated, parole and probation violators. WERDCC’s ITC offers a more therapeutic alternative to traditional incarceration. Offenders are held accountable for their behavior and are required to successfully complete treatment interventions prior to release. 

Long-term substance use disorder treatment (12 months and six months) for chronic and progressive addictions is provided at WERDCC. Short-term treatment (84 days) is also an option.

  • Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE)

This factory makes prison uniforms for inmates throughout the state.

Pictures of Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center

Careers at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center

If you are interested in a career with the Missouri Department of Corrections at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center, you can find job listings by clicking here