Oklahoma State Penitentiary

Oklahoma State Penitentiary is a male maximum-security prison for male inmates that is located in McAlester, Oklahoma. The facility has five housing units — one for death row inmates, two for medium-security inmates and two for the general population.

Built in 1908, OSP is the oldest prison in Oklahoma. Its first structure included temporary housing for the inmates who were building the facility, the first of whom arrived in 1909.

The first buildings were the West Cellhouse and Administration Building. A rotunda and East Cellhouse were built later, as well as F Cellhouse. A Special Care Unit opened in 1992. 

OSP is home to Oklahoma’s death row, the state’s death chamber, and disciplinary segregation inmates. It is home to nearly 850 inmates, almost 80 percent of whom are serving sentences for violent crimes. 

Recently, the agency has invested in several improvements and upgrades at OSP. These improvements will reduce future maintenance costs and provide a much safer environment for staff and inmates. 

These projects include: 

  • New HVAC units & a roofing project on A-Unit that will provide more efficient heating/cooling of the housing unit & correct any leaking roof issues. 
  • Door/Lock replacement projects on A, C, D & E Units will completely replace every cell door and lock in these housing units, making it safer for the officers and staff assigned to the units.
  • New facility lighting project will dramatically improve the lighting within & around the entire facility with new high mast & building lights.
  • Electrical upgrades will take place throughout the facility, replacing outdated electrical systems.

OSP has imprisoned some of Oklahoma’s most notorious criminals, including: Roger Dale Stafford — spree and serial killer; Arthur “Doc” Barker — murderer and robber; and Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd — bank robber.

Prison rodeo

From 1940 until 2009, OSP held a prison rodeo, which was a two-day event that was held over Labor Day Weekend. The rodeo was a joint venture between the city of McAlester and the state Department of Corrections. The event was canceled after a state budget shortfall.

Inmates from several prisons throughout the state competed in the annual event, and female convicts began competing in 2006. The co-ed competition was the subject of the documentary film Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo (2009).

Prison Insights

Oklahoma State Penitentiary

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

An inmate's security level dictates how many hours he or she may visit with approved visitors. All visitors are processed at the Unit H entrance. Parking is just outside Unit H in the west parking lot.

Medium Security — Units D and E
Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.
State Holidays 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Maximum Security — Units A and C
Unit A
Saturday 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

State holidays 8 a.m. — 12 p.m.

If the holiday is a two-day holiday, Unit A will have the first day of the holiday from 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Unit C
Sunday 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.
State holidays 12 p.m. — 4 p.m.

If the holiday is a two-day holiday, Unit C will have the second day of the holiday from 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Maximum Security — Unit H
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.
All state holidays 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

All visits for inmates assigned to Unit H are non-contact and only for inmates approved for visitation.

Visitation Period
Inmates may not return to the visiting room for an additional visit once they have completed their visits and returned to their unit. Their visitation time will be over until the next period the following week. 

Visits with Attorneys of Record
Each inmate will be allowed the same general visiting privileges with his attorney subject to Section III, items A, and C of this policy. Attorneys are encouraged to visit their clients during normal visiting hours. With advance notice, attorneys may visit during non-visiting hours.

Special / Extended Visits
Special visits will be allowed for instances including visits from persons who have come long distances, volunteers or team members identified by staff who have partnered with ODOC in re-entry services when the visit will aid in the re-entry process, visits to hospitalized inmates, visits in disciplinary status (attorney visits/clergy only), and visits between clergy and social service agency representatives, etc. 

Special Visit Length and Conditions
Length and conditions of special visits will be determined by the Warden. Special visits for terminally ill inmates will be in accordance with the “Palliative Care Program."

Such visitors will be subject to a National Crime Information Center check when requested by the Warden or Deputy Warden. Only the Warden or Deputy Warden will have the authority to approve special visits. Special visit requests must be completed before weekend or holiday visits. Special visits will count towards the total number of visits.

Visiting Application

All potential visitors must submit a “Visitor Request Form” and get approved before they are allowed to visit. You can find a copy of the form here. The approval process takes about two months once you have returned the Visitor Request Form to the Center.

During the approval process, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections conducts background checks on everyone 18 or older. Your inmate will notify you when the process is complete. 

Dress Code and Searches

The following clothing items are prohibited in the visiting room: 

  • Shorts, skorts, skirts, or dresses shorter than the top of the kneecap or tight fitting. 
  • Wrap-around skirts, dresses/skirts with split seam higher than the top of the knee cap.
  • Tube-tops, Tank-tops, Crop-tops, Halter-tops, Spaghetti-top blouses, Sleeveless/transparent or mesh tops/blouses. 
  • Leggings/biker’s pants/bodysuits. 
  • Spandex clothing, including swimsuits. 
  • Blue chambray, periwinkle, camouflage, or orange shirts. 
  • Tight fitting sweat suits. 
  • Low-cut or cut-out designs on clothing. 
  • Clothing bearing profanity, offensive wording, and pictures. 
  • Headgear (excluding religious). 
  • Clothing which exposes the midriff, extremely tight, off the shoulder, or which exposes any part of the breast.

All visitors must wear appropriate underclothing for his/her gender. Children above the age of 11 years must comply with the dress code for adults unless they are restricted by handicap or medical reasons.

Physical Address

Oklahoma State Penitentiary
1301 N. West St.
McAlester, OK 74502-0097

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/FkifhTNpiCEsU79Q9

General Phone Number

(918) 423-4700

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, DOC Number
Oklahoma State Penitentiary
P.O. Box 97
McAlester, OK 74502-0097

Please include the inmate’s name, DOC number, and housing assignment (if known) in the address of all inmate mail.

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at Oklahoma State Penitentiary, but they do have access to phones during certain hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Oklahoma, please click here.

How to Send Money

You can send money to an inmate at Oklahoma State Penitentiary by using JPay.

  • JPay.com — Send money online, with your credit or debit card.
  • JPay Mobile — Send money anytime, anywhere by downloading the free app
  • Phone: 800-574-5729 — Speak with a live agent, 24/7
  • Send cash at MoneyGram locations including CVS and Walmart (receive code 6365)  
  • Money orders — Payable to JPay at: P.O. Box 278320, Miramar, FL 33027

You can download a printable deposit slip at JPay.

Inmates are allowed to spend up to $80 per week in the canteen. There is no limit to the amount of money an inmate may have in their account. 

Programs For Inmates


OSP offers literacy courses as well as Pre-High School Equivalency and High School Equivalency diplomas.

Criminal Thinking

OSP offers Thinking for a Change, Moral Reconation Therapy, and Associates 4 Success programs to address thinking, judgment errors, and relationships linked with criminal thinking/behavior.

Specialized Units

OSP is home to Oklahoma’s death row unit for male inmates. It features a 24-7 infirmary, which provides medical care for inmates who need intensive monitoring and treatment.

OSP also offers the Step-Down Program for newly arrived, maximum-security inmates who would like to earn their way to a lower security level. Its programming addresses criminal thinking and encourages pro-social behaviors.

Pictures of Oklahoma State Penitentiary

Careers at Oklahoma State Penitentiary

If you are interested in a career with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and would like to apply for a job at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, you can find out more information about available jobs by clicking here.