Central Prison

Central Prison is a close-custody prison for adult male inmates that is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. This facility has the highest custody level in the state and can house approximately 1104 inmates. Central Prison is managed by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Central Prison has been in continuous service since 1884 and is the oldest prison in North Carolina. It serves as the admission point into prison for adult male felons sentenced to 20 years or more, and is the main medical and mental health center for male offenders. It also houses special populations, including death row and safekeepers. 

In the 1940s, the prison added a three-story prison industries building to house the state license plate fabrication shop and a complete print shop. In the 1960s, the facility opened an acute care infirmary hospital with wards for 86 patients, operating rooms, X-ray labs, and a pharmacy.

Central Prison went through an extensive renovation in the 1980s to add the custody control and administration building, a maximum-security housing unit, a central services building, and central plant utility systems. 

Prison Insights

Central Prison

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


To prevent the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), prison visitation was suspended as of Monday, March 16, 2020. Visitation will resume when conditions are deemed safe.

Regular Visiting Hours

Visitation is by appointment only during scheduled times and in a non-contact setting. Visits are limited to: 1) a maximum of two adults, 2) two adults and one child, or 3) one adult and two children.

Visits are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Only approved persons on an inmate's visitation list can visit; they must schedule appointments in advance by calling 919-743-4170.  

Family Visitation Schedule

Day                 Time                                                               Units

Sundays          8:30 - 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.              4-Hospital, 5-Regular, 6-Mental Health

Wednesday     9:30 - 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.              Control Status visits only for units 1, 4, 6

Fridays            8:30 - 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.              3-Death Row, 4, 6

Saturdays        8:30 - 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.              2-Processing/Safekeeping, 3, 4, 6

Special visits: Visits for inmates in Central Prison Hospital or outside medical facilities also must be scheduled through the Visitor's Center. These visits are subject to time limitations and possibly other restrictions imposed by medical staff based on the inmate's condition.

Legal Visits: Legal visits are scheduled separately and subject to different policies than family visits. Attorneys for offenders may email their request to [email protected] or fax their required credentials to 919-743-2438 at least 72 business hours in advance of scheduling a visit. Legal visits are scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays between 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Visiting Application

Before you visit your inmate, you must complete an application and have it approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. The inmate is required to send you a blank application for each adult and minor who wishes to visit. Once you complete your application, you must return it to the Central Prison.

Click here for more detailed information about visiting an inmate.

Dress Code

Visitors must check in at the prison’s Visitor's Center and present a valid, authorized photo identification. Approved visitors will be issued a numbered, laminated pass to wear into the main building. Photo ID and this pass will be checked before visitors are permitted into the actual Visitation Center by elevator.

Offenders are separated from visitors by plexiglass in individual booths which provides some privacy. A correctional officer will assign visitors to one of 23 booths upon arrival and will collect the laminated passes at the end of the visit.

All bags and purses must remain in your vehicle because they are not allowed in the visiting room. You are not allowed to bring cell phones, cameras, other electronic recording devices, and glass or metal objects into the visiting room. 

You are allowed to bring small denomination bills and change to purchase food and drinks from the vending machines.  

All visitors must follow the dress code or they will not be allowed to visit. All visitors must wear shirts and closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops or stilettos).

  • Halter tops, bare midriffs, strapless tops, tube tops, bodysuits, underwear-type T-shirts, tank tops, or sleeveless shirts or dresses that are inappropriately revealing (a sleeveless shirt or dress is considered inappropriately revealing when the female breast or lingerie can be seen), fishnet shirts, or any type of shirt or pants made with see-through fabric are NOT allowed to be worn by any visitor (male or female).
  • Visitors may wear Bermuda-length shorts provided they are not more than three inches above the kneecap.
  • Females may wear dresses or skirts, but they may not be more than three inches above the kneecap. Slits in skirts and dresses may not be more than three inches above the kneecap. Dresses and skirts for pre-teens may be shorter than three inches above the kneecap.
  • Any shirt or other articles of clothing with a picture or language that may be considered profane or offensive by current public standards or Adult Correction standards, or considered STG (gang) related will not be allowed.
  • Wave caps, doo rags, and bandanas are not allowed.
  • Slacks and pants are to be worn at or above the waist.
  • Spandex clothing is prohibited.

Physical Address

Central Prison
1300 Western Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27606

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/5n2LBkrCEHiWCVRq5

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, OPUS Number
Central Prison
1300 Western Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27606

Always make sure that the inmate’s full name and OPUS number appears on the envelope when sending inmate mail. For information about sending packages to an inmate, click here.

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at the Central Prison do have access to phones, but they can’t receive incoming calls. For complete details on how to call an inmate in North Carolina, please click here.

How to Send Money

You can send money to your inmate at Central Prison through JPay and MoneyGram. All North Carolina state prisons require that you be on the inmate’s approved visitor list to send funds.

The fastest option is to send money with your credit or debit card online by using JPay.com or the JPay mobile app from the Apple App Store (for iPhones) or Google Play (for Android phones).

You can also send money by phone using your credit or debit card. Call (800) 574-5729 to speak with a live JPay call center agent 24/7.

Money Orders
Money orders must be made payable to JPay and sent with a deposit slip to: 
P.O. Box 173070
Hialeah, FL 33017

Money order deposit slip available in English here.
Hoja de Depósito para Giros Bancarios disponible en Español aquí.

To make a cash deposit, visit any MoneyGram agent location (including all Walmarts and CVS Pharmacies), and use code 1224. Visit JPay.com to get a list of nearby MoneyGram locations.

Programs For Inmates

While security requires that certain offenders remain in their cells, there are more than 260 offender job assignments that include working in the kitchen, laundry, or canteen. Offenders also work as barbers, janitors, and clerks.

Offenders can attend substance abuse group therapy meetings, Bible studies or worship services.

Pictures of Central Prison

Careers at Central Prison

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is currently hiring. If you would like to work at Central Prison, you can find out more information by clicking here.