Christina Melton Crain Unit

The Christina Melton Crain Unit is a prison for adult female inmates that is located in Gatesville, Texas. This facility houses all custody levels: G1-G4, transient, outside trusty, developmentally disabled, and substance abuse.

This facility opened in 1980 and houses a maximum of 1,506 inmates, with 321 at the Trusty Camp and 288 in the SAFP (substance abuse unit). The prison sits on nearly 1,300 acres and has multiple agricultural operations: Edible and Field Crops, Farm Shop, Regional Pest Control, Security Horses, Security Pack Canines, and Swine Finishing Operation.

Additional operations include Offender Intake/Receiving, Food Service Warehouse, and Regional Release Site.

According to Leah Karotkin of the Houston Press, most women in Crain live in "drab" and "low-slung" dormitories. Most inmates work seven hours per day, and jobs include painting and repairing buildings, maintaining and repairing large equipment such as boiler units, hoeing fields, and fixing potholes.

The trusty camp has no perimeter fence and houses nonviolent minimum custody inmates who need less supervision than regular inmates and who are less likely to escape than regular inmates. The trustees live in an open dormitory and work in prisoner and prison guard beauty shops, food service, landscaping, and transportation.

Women in the Valley Unit work as beauty operators, clerks, cooks, kitchen workers, and landscape gardeners. Crain also has the Sentence Alternative to Incarceration Program, a 90-day program for first time offenders between the ages of 17 and 25. 

Amy Smith of the Austin Chronicle wrote that the Terrace Unit campus "resembles a 1950s-era elementary school that has survived decades of budget cuts." Terrace Unit is a medical unit which holds many of Crain's elderly inmates.

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Christina Melton Crain Unit

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Visiting Hours and Rules

The visiting hours at the Crain Unit are on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

Please 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 Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Visiting Applications

Before visiting an inmate at Crain Unit, you must submit a visiting application and get approval from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The visiting application and instructions are found below.

Dress Code

Visitors are encouraged to dress conservatively.

  • Sandals, flip-flops, and open-toe shoes may be worn.
  • Clothing that is tight fitting, revealing, or made with see-through fabrics shall not be allowed.
  • Sleeveless shirts and dresses are allowed, but must cover the shoulders.
  • Shorts and skirts no shorter than three inches above the middle of the knee while standing, capri pants, or long pants are allowed.
  • Length is not restricted for pre-adolescent boys and girls, generally ages 10 and younger.
  • Clothing with pictures or language that may be considered profane or offensive by current public standards shall not be allowed.

Note: The duty warden makes the final decision on whether clothing is appropriate.

For a complete list of the visiting rules click here.

What can you bring to a visit?

Items allowed inside the secured perimeter of a unit:

  • A small wallet, clear plastic bag (Ziploc® type) or change purse
  • $25 cash (in coins) – Vending machines are available in the visitation areas.
  • Offender visitors with infants or small children may bring no more than three diapers, a supply of baby wipes, and two baby bottles (“sippy” cup for toddlers). These items must be stored in a clear plastic bag.

Items not allowed inside the secured perimeter of a unit:

Any food items, purses, diaper bags, briefcases, cameras, baby strollers, toys, dolls, photographs or photograph albums, paper money, knives, drugs, medication (exceptions are granted regarding prescribed medications on a case-by-case basis), tobacco, lighters, matches, cell phones, pagers, laptop computers, cameras, digital recorders or any other type of electronic/wireless devices, or any other non-authorized items.

Physical Address

Crain Unit
1401 State School Road
Gatesville, TX 76599-2999

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

(254) 865-8431 (**024)

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name/DOC Number
Crain Unit
1401 State School Road
Gatesville, TX 76599-2999


Inmates can receive incoming eMessages through JPAY. You can register at

How to Call an Inmate

You can't call an inmate at Crain 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

You can send money to your inmate at Crain Unit through JPay. They provide several different ways to put cash on an inmate's books.


To send money online with a credit or debit card, click here. It's the quickest and easiest way to send money.


Call (800) 574-5729 to speak with a live agent 24/7. You can use a credit or debit card.

Walk-In Cash

To send money using cash, visit any MoneyGram agent location and use receive code 6188. Click here to get a list of nearby MoneyGram locations.

Money Orders

All money orders must be sent with a deposit slip to:

P.O. Box 279010
Miramar, FL 33027

Money order deposits slips are available in English and Spanish.

Programs For Inmates

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

Career and Technology Programs: Business Computer Information Systems II (available at Hilltop); Construction Carpentry (available at Hilltop); Restaurant Management

Central Texas College Academic

Central Texas College Vocational: Office Administration; Culinary Arts/ Hospitality

Additional Programs/Services: Faith Based Dormitory, Texas Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) Dormitory, Adult Education Program (upon availability), Peer Education, Patriot Paws, Reentry Planning, Chaplaincy Services, Community Tours, GO KIDS Initiative

Community Work Projects: Services provided to city agencies

Volunteer Initiatives: Literacy/Education, Substance Abuse Education, Mentoring, Life Skills, Arts/Crafts, Parent Training, Support Groups, Victims Awareness, Religious/Faith Based Studies and Activities, Women's Storybook Project

Special Treatment Programs: Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP); Special Alternative Incarceration Program (SAIP) - Boot Camp for Females; Special Needs Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF)

Pictures of Christina Melton Crain Unit

Careers at Christina Melton Crain Unit

To find out more information about a career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and available jobs at Crain Unit, click here.