Oregon State Penitentiary

Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) is the oldest prison in Oregon and the only maximum-security institution currently operated by the Oregon Department of Corrections. 

The Penitentiary has been sited at three separate locations. Originally, the Penitentiary was called the Oregon Territory Jail and was in Oregon City, then the capital of Oregon. The Territory Jail was built in April 1842. The Jail was later destroyed by fire on August 18, 1846.

Oregon Territory relied on local jails for the housing of prisoners until 1853. Legislature recognized the need for a new prison and authorized the construction of one in 1851. In 1853 a site was finally selected in Portland. An out of business whiskey shop on Front Street was used to temporarily house the inmates.

Oregon's first state prison (The Oregon Territory Jail) was originally located in Oregon City (the state capital at the time) in 1842. After four years, it was moved to Portland and in 1866, it was moved to a 26-acre site in Salem and enclosed by a reinforced concrete wall averaging 25 feet in height.

The penitentiary currently has special housing units for multi-custody inmates; disciplinary segregation; offenders with psychiatric problems; and inmates sentenced to death. Executions, which are by lethal injection in Oregon, are conducted at the penitentiary. 

The 233-bed, self-contained Special Management Housing unit provides housing and control for those death row and male inmates who disrupt or pose a substantial threat to the general population in all department facilities. 

Most housing in the penitentiary is in large cell blocks with most inmates housed in double cells. The penitentiary also has a full-service infirmary.

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Oregon State Penitentiary

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Oregon State Penitentiary are as follows:

Friends and Family Visiting:

Housing Type



General Population

7 days a week

7:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

12:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

BHU, DRU, and MHI - By appointment only

Please call (503) 378-2559 Monday - Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to schedule a visit.

Wednesday – Sunday and Holidays

7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

DSU - By appointment only

Please call (503) 378-2597 Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to schedule a visit.

Professional Visiting: 

All professional visitors need to have prior approval before visiting the institution. Please contact (503) 378-2445 to schedule a professional visit in both general population and special housing. You can contact the facility Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4: 00 p.m.

What to bring to your visit

  • Photo Identification
    • All visitors 15 and older must bring a driver’s license, passport, state ID card, military ID card, school ID card, or other official government ID card
  • Money
    • Quarters only for use in the vending machines (no more than $15 in quarters is allowed).
  • Metal Detector Medical Exception Form 
    • If you have a medical condition that makes it unsafe for you to walk through a metal detector, have your doctor complete the Metal Detector Medical Exception Form linked above.

Other Approved Items

  • Pictures
    • Visitors may bring five non-Polaroid photographs or five sheets of photographs into the visiting room. You must take all pictures with you at the end of the visit.
  • Infant items
    • Approved items per child include: two diapers, one clear plastic bottle, one single layer blanket, one pacifier, and diaper wipes contained in a clear plastic bag.
  • Emergency medications
    • Any medications that are prescribed for emergency purposes

What to Leave at Home or in a Institution Locker

  • Non-emergency medications, prescribed or non-prescribed, are not allowed in the visiting room. 
  • Smoking of any kind is not allowed within a Penitentiary or on State of Oregon property, so please leave any tobacco products, vapes, etc. behind. 
  • Cash other than $15 in quarters. You cannot bring checkbooks, credit and/or debit cards into the visiting area. 
  • No cell phones, pagers, or other electronic devices
  • Weapons of any kind are not allowed
  • Metal buttons, body piercings, jewelry, underwire bras, and some shoes may activate the metal detector. Avoid wearing metal as much as possible or be prepared to remove certain items in order to pass through the metal detector successfully.

Dress Code

DO NOT WEAR BLUE DENIM OR BLUE CLOTHING OF ANY KIND. This is for security purposes, since inmates themselves wear blue and blue denim clothing.

Dress conservatively. Dresses, skirts, jumpers, culottes, and shorts are permitted if they are worn at knee level or lower when standing. Footwear and undergarments are required.

Prohibited clothing:

  • Suggestive, revealing, low-cut, or skimpy clothing. Hats, wrap-around skirts, halter tops, sheer or see-through clothing are not allowed. 
  • Other types of provocative clothing; camouflage of any kind; and clothing, hairstyles, insignias or other paraphernalia associated with security threat groups or that are inflammatory in nature are not allowed.
  • Raincoats, ski jackets, and other garments that are lined are not allowed inside the visiting room.

Physical Address

Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310-0505

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/qNWowdnz2dzgi6Cn6

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, SID Number
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310-0505

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at Oregon State Penitentiary can’t receive incoming phone calls, but they do have access to phones during certain hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Oregon, please click here.

How to Send Money

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) has contracts with JPay, CenturyLink (CenturyLink uses the vendor Access Corrections for Trust deposits), and Telmate. All accept electronic payments through their website, by telephone, and at walk up locations. 

Adults in custody have two main types of accounts: a phone account and a commissary (trust) account. 

  • Phone account funds can be used for phone calls, electronic messaging, and computer tablet services. 
  • Commissary account funds can be used for items from the Institution like snacks, toiletries, and other goods and services. The DOC Rule on Trust Accounts has more detailed information on commissary accounts.


With JPay, you can place money on an AICs commissary (trust) account:

  • JPay website: Visit the JPay website to create an account and send money with a credit or debit card.
  • Phone: Call (800) 574-5729 to deposit money with a credit or debit card.
  • In person: Visit Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, or CVS to purchase a MoneyGram with cash or card. Once purchased, call (800) 574-5729 and use receive code, 7813.

Century Link

CenturyLink uses a vendor called Access Corrections, so you can place money on an AIC's commissary (trust) account:

  • Visit the Access Corrections website to create an account and send money with a credit or debit card.
  • Phone: Call (866) 345-1884 to send money with a credit or debit card.
  • In person: Visit any Western Union Agent to send money with cash or card.


With Telmate, you can place money on an AIC's commissary (trust) account.

  • Telmate website or app: Visit the Telmate website or download the app to deposit using a credit or debit card 
  • Phone: Call Telmate customer service at (866) 516-0115. 

US Mail

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) will ONLY accept money orders and cashier's checks through the mail. Make the money order or cashier’s check payable to “DOC” with the adult in custody's name and SID number. (Example: DOC for John Doe, SID #1234567)

Write the name and mailing address of the purchaser, including city, state, and zip code on the money order or cashier's check AND in the return address area of the mailing envelope. This information must be current and legible or your item will be returned.

Mail the money order or cashier’s check to:

Central Trust, AICs Name and SID Number
Oregon Department of Corrections
PO Box 14400
Salem, OR 97309-5077

Programs For Inmates

Programs and Services offered at OSP:

  • Special needs and release housing
  • Work-based education and programs
  • Institution work programs
  • Education, including ABE, GED, & ESL
  • Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) industries: 
  • Furniture factory
  • Laundry 
  • Metal shop
  • Contact center
  • Clubs:
  • 7th Step Club 
  • Asian Club
  • AVP
  • Family First
  • Hole in the Wall Group of NA
  • Lakota Club
  • Latino Club
  • Lifers Info
  • Music Program
  • Pool Club Info
  • Toastmasters Club
  • Uhuru Club
  • Veterans Club

Inmates in Oregon are required to work. Inmate labor is used in a variety of ways, including supporting the operation and maintenance of the prisons. The goal is to reduce idleness, reduce costs, and teach work skills. 

Measure 17, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1994, requires inmates to work 40 hours a week, or be involved in a combination of 20 hours of education and 20 hours of work. Inmates have various kinds of work assignments in the prisons. Some inmates work in the institution kitchen, laundry, or physical plant. 

Others may perform landscape maintenance, work as orderlies, assist other inmates in the legal library, facilitate programs, tutor, or cut hair. These types of work are relatively standard from prison to prison. There are also some private industry work assignments within prisons. 

Minimum custody inmates may be eligible to join outside crews that work in the community. In addition to compliance with corrections plan requirements and the award of PRAS points, work assignments build skills, help to provide practical experience, and help pass the time. 

It Is important to remember that work is assigned at the sole discretion of the Oregon Department of Corrections depending on many factors and is not ever guaranteed or an entitlement, regardless of Custody Classification Level. 

Pictures of Oregon State Penitentiary

Careers at Oregon State Penitentiary

If you are interested in a career with the Oregon Department of Corrections, you can find out more information about available jobs at Oregon State Penitentiary by clicking here.