Allan B. Polunsky Unit

The Allan B. Polunsky Unit is a maximum-security prison for male inmates located in Livingston, Texas. This facility is operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and can house a maximum of 2,984 inmates. The Polunsky Unit also houses the state's death row.

This facility sits on approximately 500 acres and has agricultural operations that include:  Security Horses, Security Pack Canines, Tree Farm, Unit Garden, and the Unit Food Bank Garden Program. The Polunsky Unit also has a Box Factory that employs a number of inmates.

Death row inmates were housed at Ellis Unit before the Texas Department of Criminal Justice decided to move it to Polunsky. The Polunsky Unit started taking death row inmates on Friday June 18, 1999. The death row transfer, which took ten months, was the largest transfer of condemned prisoners in history and was performed under heavy security.

In 2010, the TDCJ accused five men who were serving life sentences of attempting to break out of the Polunsky Unit. Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire, said at the time that Polunsky "probably" is "the hardest place to do time in Texas." 

In May 2013, Mother Jones magazine ranked Polunsky as one of the ten worst prisons in the US, based on Congressional testimony from former inmate Anthony Charles Graves who was released from death row after his conviction was overturned and research conducted by the magazine during a three-year period.

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Allan B. Polunsky Unit

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Visiting Hours and Rules

The visiting hours for general population inmates at Polunsky Unit are on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. The visiting hours for inmates in Administrative Segregation and on Death Row are on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm., Wednesdays from 8:00 am to noon, and Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm.

You can expect your visiting period to last for about two hours, and each inmate is allowed one visit per weekend. Contact visits are allowed if the visitors are immediate family. Two adults (18+) are allowed to visit an inmate at one time. Minor children are not counted in the visiting number. 

Before your visit, call the Ombudsman Visitation Hotline at (936) 437-4927 or toll free at (844) 476-1289 if you have any questions about visitation. The hotline is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Visiting Applications

You must fill out an application and get approval from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice before you can visit an inmate at Polunsky Unit. Click on the visiting application and instructions below to get started.

What can you bring to a visit?

When checking in for a visit, you will need to provide the officer at the unit security checkpoint the following information:

  • Your inmate's name and TDCJ number
  • Your relationship to the offender
  • Your current physical address and phone number

All adult visitors must have a valid photo ID. Keep everything in your vehicle except your ID and $25 cash (in coins) for the vending machines. You are allowed to carry the coins in a small wallet, clear plastic bag, or change purse.

Visitors with infants or small children may bring no more than three diapers, baby wipes, and two baby bottles (“sippy” cup for toddlers). These items must be stored in a clear plastic bag.

Visitor Identification: Visitors ages 18 and older must have a pictured and signed identification card. Children 17 years of age and younger may be required to provide an ID such as, birth certificate, ID card, or student ID card.

For a complete list of the visiting rules, click here

Dress Code

The dress code at Polunsky Unit is strictly enforced. Your visit will be denied if you are not dressed appropriately.

  • Clothing that is tight fitting, revealing, or made with see-through fabrics is prohibited.
  • Clothing with pictures or language that may be considered profane or offensive is not allowed. 
  • Shorts, skirts no shorter than three (3) inches above the middle of the knee while standing, capri pants, or long pants are allowed. Length is not restricted for children ages 10 and younger. 
  • Sandals, flip-flops, and open-toe shoes are allowed.
  • Sleeveless shirts and dresses are allowed, but must cover the shoulders.

Physical Address

Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

(936) 967-8082 (**054)

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name/DOC Number
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351


Inmates at Polunsky Unit can receive eMessages through JPAY. To register, please contact JPAY at 1-866-333- 5729 or visit on the web.

How to Call an Inmate

You can't call an inmate at Polunsky Unit, but they do have access to phones during certain hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Texas, please click here.

How to Send Money

There are a number of ways to send money to an inmate at Polunsky Unit, both online and through snail mail. Remember, you will need their inmate ID number


JPAY allows you to send money to an offender for a service fee. Visit their website at or call 1.800.574.5729 to send funds using Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card. 


1. Visit 

2. Telephone (toll-free): call 1.866.345.1884 for live bilingual agents available 24/7 


Must be made payable to “Inmate Trust Fund for Offender Name and Number” 

  • You may obtain deposit slips by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Inmate Trust Fund, PO Box 60, Huntsville, TX 77342-0060 
  • Send deposit and completed deposit slip to Inmate Trust Fund, PO Box 60, Huntsville, TX 77342-0060


You can send money to an inmate or make purchases for them from the prison commissary using ECOMMDIRECT. To send money, click here and enter the offender's number, name, and confirm offender. Add a deposit amount to your cart and checkout using a credit or debit card.

Friends and family can also make purchases each quarter for eligible offenders. The maximum spend is $60, with the exception of the 4th quarter. From October through December, the holiday spend limit is $85.

You can choose from the top selling commissary items and purchase them for your inmate instead of sending money. Items include snacks, hygiene products, and correspondence supplies.

Programs For Inmates

Special Treatment Programs: Assisted Disability Services (ADS) for vision impaired

Educational Programs: Literacy (Adult Basic Education/GED), CHANGES/Pre-Release, Cognitive Intervention

Career and Technology Programs: Automotive Specialization (Transmission Repair); Electrical Trades; Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration; Mill and Cabinetmaking

Additional Programs/Services: Faith Based Dormitory, Adult Education Program (upon availability), Peer Education, Reentry Planning, Chaplaincy Services, Crime Stoppers, GO KIDS Initiative

Community Work Projects: Services provided to the area food bank and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Volunteer Initiatives: Employment/Job Skills, Substance Abuse Education, Life Skills, Parent Training, Support Groups, Mentoring, Religious/Faith Based Studies and Activities

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Careers at Allan B. Polunsky Unit

If you are interested in a career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and would like more information about available jobs at Polunsky Unit, click here.