View Full Version : Polunsky Unit - Texas Prison

08-22-2006, 07:21 PM
Welcome to the Polunsky Unit Handbook.

Here you will find comprehensive information specifically for Polunsky Unit Texas Prison.

Polunsky Unit - General Information (

Polunsky Unit - Contact Information (

Items you CAN and CANNOT send to an inmate at Polunsky Unit (

Polunsky Unit - Visiting Information Death Row (hours, rules & what to wear) (

Polunsky Unit - Visiting Information General Population (

Hotels/Motels in Livingston, Texas (Near Polunsky Unit) (

Restaurants/Fast Food in Livingston, Texas (Near Polunsky Unit) (

Hospitality Houses near Polunsky Unit (

Driving Directions to Polunsky Unit (

Transportation to Polunsky Unit (

Things to do near Polunsky Unit (

Parole Region and Board and IPO Contact information (

Polunsky Unit - Overview of living conditions on Death Row (

Books and Magazines (

Stationery (

Radio Stations (

Weather in Livingston (

09-04-2006, 03:41 AM
Polunsky Unit General Information

Senior Warden - Mr Tim Simmons
Polunsky Unit is in Region II
Unit Established - November 1993
Number of Employees - 766 (inc Security, Medical and Non-security)
Offender Population - 2,886 (Male)
Maximum Capacity - 2,900
Custody Levels - G1 - G5, Death Row, Administrative Segregation
Agricultural and Manufacturing operations - Security Horses and Dogs, Brood Mare Program, Tree Farm, Unit Garden, Unit Food Bank Garden Program, Box Factory
Medical Capabilities - Ambulatory medical, dental and mental health services. Infirmary with fifteen inpatient beds. Type I Geriatric Facility. Type I sheltered housing for visually-impaired offenders. All services are available on a single level.
No Special Treatment Programs
Educational Programs - Literacy, CHANGES/Pre-Release, Special Education, Cognitive Intervention, Project RIO
Career and Technology Programs - Auto Specialization (Transmission Repair), Custodial Technician, Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration and Mill & Cabinetmaking
Apprenticeship Programs - Cabinetmaking
Additional Programs - Spiritual Programs, Crimestoppers
No Community Work Programs
Volunteer Programs - Chaplaincy, Education, Substance Abuse

09-04-2006, 03:41 AM
Contact Information

Unit address and phone number:

Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South,
Texas 77351

Tel: (+1) 936-967-8082
All departments (Chaplaincy, Warden's Secretary etc.) are reached through main switchboard.

To write to a prisoner:

John Doe #123456 (#999xxx - For Death Row Prisoner)
Polunsky Unit,
3872 FM 350 South,
Texas 77351

09-04-2006, 03:42 AM
As with all TDCJ units, TDCJ correspondence rules apply:

You may send letters, cards, photographs (But not expicit photgraphs - See link to TDCJ special notice ( about sexually explicit materials), printed pages, postcards etc.

You may NOT post directly to the inmate: money, checks, (see Trust Fund information on how to send money to an inmate); books; maps, magazines; jewelry; clothes; food, tobacco products, laminated items, sexually explicit images (*as defined above), stationery (writing pads, envelopes, pens, pencils), locks of hair, noxious liquids or powders.

What this means is that you can send greeting cards, letters (as long as they are do not contain threats, blackmail, escape plans etc etc.), photographs, post cards, pages printed from the internet, loose leaf pages from a calendar, small amounts of news clippings (just one or two) and so on.

To send books or to subscribe to a magazine - please see here (

To send stationery - please see here (

To send money for an inmate - please see here (

09-04-2006, 03:43 AM
The names of all visitors, except children under the age of sixteen and the inmate’s attorney, must be on the approved visitors’ list, which is limited to ten persons.

DR prisoners are usually entitled to one 2-hour visit per week - these visits are called a "regular visit".
If the visitor lives more than 300 miles away from the prison, he may have a "special visit", which amounts to 4 visiting hours each on two consecutive days (8 hours in total). Special visits are only granted once per month for every prisoner and will replace the option for a regular visit in the respective week. Special visits for two different months have to be taken in two different weeks. You can book your special visits with the Warden's secretary in the preceding month - book as early as possible as there are only a certain number of visiting slots available.

It is a good idea if you are travelling from overseas to come to Texas at the end of one month and stay until beginning of the following month, this way you will be able to schedule special visits for two months.
If you plan carefully (or have more time) you may fit in an additional regular visit the week before or after your special visits - or even both.

Visiting hours are as follows:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 8 a.m. to 5. p.m.
Wednesdays are "Media Days", so visits only take place between 8 a.m. and noon.

On Saturdays visiting time is between 5.30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Only regular visits take place on Saturdays and they take place in two shifts:
1) 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
2) 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday visits must be booked in the preceding week to ensure your friend will be brought to the visiting room. You cannot just turn up without booking in advance.

There is no visiting for death row inmates on Sundays, this day is reserved for the prisoners in Polunsky's general population.

09-04-2006, 03:44 AM
Polunsky Unit - General Population Visiting Information

Visits are held on Saturdays or Sundays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The names of all visitors, except children under the age of sixteen and the inmate’s attorney, must be on the approved visitors’ list, which is limited to ten persons.

Number of Visitors: All inmates, except those in the intake process, solitary confinement, G5, lockdown status, or administrative segregation, are allowed one visit every weekend.
This visit will not exceed two hours and not to exceed two adult visitors. Children under the age of sixteen are not counted in this number, and must be accompanied by an approved adult visitor (18 years or older).
The number of children allowed per visit will be based on the amount of space available for visitation and on the visitor’s ability to manage and control the children.

Contact visits are available for the General Population in Polunsky and are granted on a case by case basis; according to visitor's relationship to inmate, inmate custody status and availability of space for contact visitation on the day of visit.

A "Special Visit" consiting of a maximum of 2 x 4 hour periods over a weekend may be possible at Warden's discretion.
One such "Special Visit" is allowed per inmate, per calendar month.
Visitors must live over 300 miles away, and must be able to prove such.
Please call unit to ask for details and to arrange this type of visit.

Visitors' vehicles will be searched on entering the prison property, visitors are subject to metal detector and/or physical search. No paper money is allowed - there is a change machine in the reception area that works most of the time!

No cell phones, tobacco, alcohol or outside food stuffs are allowed in the visitation area.

Visitors are required to adhere to the TDCJ dress code:
Visitors must follow the dress code. Shirts and shoes must be worn.Shorts, cut-offs, halter tops, undershirts, and tank tops are prohibited. Shirts and blouses of fishnet, transparent material or open midriff are not allowed. Male visitors must wear long pants, and female visitors must wear dresses, skirts, capri pants or long pants. Exceptions for pre-adolescent boys and girls may be made. Dresses, capri pants or skirts that appear too short will require a decision by the duty officer. Clothing marked by words or pictures considered profane or offensive by current public standards will not be allowed.

Vending machines inside the visitation room sell snacks, candy, soda and occasionally salads, fruit and sandwiches.

09-04-2006, 03:45 AM
Super 8 Motel ( - Cheap and cheerful, used to seeing visitors going to Polunsky. Donuts and coffee free for breakfast!! Pool open in summer months.

Holiday Inn Express ( - Slightly more expensive. Small breakfast buffet - pastries, toast, coffee juice etc. Pool in summer.

Hampton Inn ( - Practically next door to the Holiday Inn. The only downside to this hotel is that it can be hard to get a cell phone signal here. Staff are very friendly and helpful; nice breakfast, too!

Best Western ( - Brand new hotel opened in Fall 2008. Near to Super 8

Lake Livingston Inn ( - further away from town, has licenced bar. Not the best for food or hospitality. Pool in summer.

Relax Inn ( - Motel, basic facilities. :o

09-04-2006, 03:46 AM
There are no shortage of places to eat in Livingston.
You will find McDonalds; Burger King; Subway, Taco Bell, Sonic Drive Thru and KFC.

Some recommendations are:

:thumbsup: For a good steak meal: The Texas Pepper - further north on 59, just outside of town. Great steaks and great value.
Tel: (936) 327-2794

:) Cajun Cooking - Shrimp Boat Mannys ( - Good catfish and Louisiania cooking here, friendly staff. On 190 just opposite the Post Office

:) Traditional American diner - The Courthouse Whistlestop Cafe - on 190 in Livingston town centre.
Tel: (936)-327-3222

:thumbsup: BEST FOOD IN TOWN - Florida's Kitchen ( - huge portions, great staff, good quality food - Ribs, catfish, barbecue - go when you are HUNGRY!!

:thumbsup: BEST VALUE IN TOWN - Cici's Pizza - Great value buffet of pizza and pasta. Just behind Post Office on 190/W Churh Street.
Tel: 936-327-7440

:rolleyes: Casual Dining - Taste of Italy - Italian; slightly more formal restaurant. Staff friendly until you mention prison! :o On 190 intersection with 350S.
Tel: 936-327-5300

There are also great Deli counters in Walmart and the other large stores in town. So you don't have to eat out every night.

:idea: Bear in mind that Polk County was until recently a dry county (no alcohol for sale) so if you do need something more than the locally available beer or wine, either pick some up on the way up the 59 from the airport or make a special trip to Onalaska on the 190!!

09-04-2006, 03:47 AM
Hospitality House (,
912 10th Street,
Texas 77320

Tel: 936-291-6196

09-04-2006, 03:49 AM
The Polunsky Unit is situated on FM 350 South, which is off the 190.
Once you have turned left onto FM 350S (if you are coming from Livingston) or right if you are coming from Huntsville/Onalaska you need to follow the road for approx 3 miles and it will be on your right. When you see a big water tower with red and white checks on the right hand side of the road, you are nearly at the unit.

Pull into the car park and be prepared to open the font and back of your car for a security check. You must have photo ID at this point unless you are just dropping someone off and are not staying on the property.

For detailed directions from Houston/Huntsville/Livingston please see ( yahoo maps (

09-04-2006, 03:49 AM
You will need to plan very carefully if you are going to visit the Polunsky Unit without your own or a friend's transport!!
There is little public transport in this part of Texas.
A Greyhound ( service runs to and from Huntsville.
A Kerrville Bus ( (under the Greyhound umbrella) runs from Houston to Livingston.
There does not appear to be a bus that directly connects Huntsville and Livingston!!

If you do get to Livingston, there is a lady that runs a cab service. She is a very small operation so would need some notice of your requirements. Her contact details are: "Ginny Cabs" 936-646-4423

There is also another local cab company that can be reached on 936-328-8181

09-04-2006, 03:51 AM
The main things to do in Livingston are as follows:

Visit Lake Livingston Park ( A beautiful, peaceful place where you can picnic, fish, cycle and so on.
See a movie at the Fain Theater ( in downtown Livingston. Check local press for show times.
Pedigo Park ( - Trade Days
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe ( Annual Powwow - 1st weekend in June
Shop in various locations:
Lake Livingston Outlet Mall (
Baskins ( - Western style clothing and knick-knacks
Antique shops and curios ( - downtown area (Washington Ave)

Livingston - Polk County - Chamber of Commerce Website ( please visit for further information about local businesses and events.

Also City of Livingston Website ( has a Community Calendar (

09-04-2006, 03:52 AM
Polunsky Unit is under the Huntsville Board of Pardons and Parole

Huntsville Board of Pardons & Parole
1300 11th Street Suite 520
P.O.Box 599
TX 77342-0599

Phone # 936-291-2161
Fax # 936-291-8367

Institutional Parole Officer Polunsky Unit

Central IPO
Regional Supervisor: Philip Doughty

Huntsville IPO
1650 7th Street
TX 77320

Phone 936-291-4014
Fax 936-291-8371

09-09-2006, 11:40 PM
The Polunsky Unit is situated in Livingston, (East) Texas. It is a large unit just outside of the town. It houses all male death row prisoners (just over 400).

Death Row is divided into pods, sections and then has a lower floor and an upper floor where the cells are housed.

At Polunsky the men are kept in solitary confinement in a small cell, which contains a steel bunk, shelf, desk and combined steel sink/toilet. Food is passed through a (bean) slot in the door on plastic trays. There is a tiny window shaped like a long letterbox, which is placed high on the outside wall. They have no television and only those with good disciplinary records will be allowed radios. There are no work facilities or study programmes.
There is a commissary that sells stamps, stationery, toiletries, food and beverages.

The food provided by the authorities is generally poor and those who can afford to will try to supplement their diet as much as possible. The prison is a non-smoking area and it is a disciplinary offence to smoke tobacco. It goes without saying that recreational drugs are not tolerated.

Prisoners recreate alone in cages big enough to pace around in. They are allowed recreation three times a week (for up to two hours).
A death row inmate is always handcuffed when moving around the unit (outside of his cell or the day room). He will be moved only when accompanied by an escort of at least two officers.

The visiting is always non-contact (behind glass) even for immediate family. See here ( for more information on the DR visiting procedures.

There is a team of prison chaplains who attend to the spiritual needs of the prisoners. Most major faiths are represented within this team. If a prisoner needs medical attention there is a prison doctor and medical facility. If more advanced techniques are required the prisoner will be taken to an appropriate hospital and treated on-site.

Prisoners do not have access to a computer, although some have typewriters. If an inmate has a good disciplinary record they may purchase a typewriter (cost approx $90). If the inmate has his level changed,the typewriter will be removed until the inmate reaches Level 1 again.

Telephone calls can be made by inmates that have a good disciplinary record and have remained without a case for six months. In this case, in theory, a five-minute collect call can be made (to a person on their visiting list) every ninety days. Realistically few calls are made, the inmate must request a call (by submitting an I-60) and then can wait for many weeks before being allowed to use the phone. All calls are monitored closely. Sometimes it is not possible to reach international numbers, but some calls have been recieved by friends outside of the U.S.

Day to day life is very dull, many men have experienced a significant mental health problems caused by the difficulties of solitary confinement over such a long period. The pods are extremely noisy and it can be hard to hold concentration for long periods in such conditions. Some men withdraw, refusing to recreate or shower. Others become confused and depressed and are unable to maintain links with the outside world. Others recognise the need to keep social contact and intellectual stimulation as an important part of their life. Penfriends, books, radio talk shows, interaction with other inmates and staff provide a few opportunities for the men to keep "in touch with reality".

In the summer, the heat in the cell blocks can be suffocating, the central air system is not very effective and provides little relief. During the cold winter months, blankets and winter clothing are distributed but still there is a significant amount of discomfort experienced by some during this colder weather.

To decrease the escape risk and for security purposes, some inmates are moved from cell to cell on a regular basis. All inmates can expect to be moved at any time. Most men will have to spend a few hours, at the least, cleaning the cell to which they have been moved. Cleanliness is not something that Polunsky is well known for, orderlies (from the Gen Pop part of the prison) are not always thorough when they clean the runs. Showers are notoriously unpleasant and water is not always at a comfortable temperature.

Annually the prison will fumigate the cells to eliminate the brown recluse spiders and other insects that are hazardous to health. Repainting and maintenance works appears to be on an ad hoc basis.

10-25-2006, 03:09 AM
Books, Magazines and Newspapers can only be sent directly from the Publisher/Bookstore.

Some suggestions are: (
Barnes and Noble (
National Geographic (
American Curves ( - This is a "glamour" magazine that features models, but no nudity - so most editions should pass the TDCJ guidelines.
Readers' Digest (
Houston Chronicle (
USA Today (

10-25-2006, 03:10 AM
Stationery can only come from TDCJ approved Vendors.

PLEASE NOTE: As from Oct 1st 2007 Offenders are not allowed to purchase or possess coloured note paper, envelopes or other such items.
Writing pads must be white (not yellow). Lined paper is permitted.

Some suggestions are:

Products below are suitable to send to Polunsky:

Glue top pads (
Envelopes ( Rosies Graphics ( all items are TDCJ approved

- Inmate ( items TDCJ approved

Also try Office Depot ( but you will need to speak to a customer service agent to check that everything is suitable and that they will deliver it to the unit.

01-26-2007, 02:04 AM
KPFT - 90.1 FM ( part of the Pacifica Foundation .
Broadcasts 24/7.
KPFT airs the "Prison Show (" hosted by Ray Hill on Friday Evenings between 9 and 11pm.
Lots of info, news and topical discussion related to TDCJ and prisoner welfare.

Some other stations that are picked up in the unit (depending on atmospheric conditions) are:

KILT 100.3 FM ( - Country
The Buzz 94.5 FM ( Rock
The Arrow 93.7 ( - Classic Rock

04-03-2007, 10:50 PM
If you want to know what kind of weather is affecting the Polunsky Unit; you can check here:

Livingston, Texas - Weather Updates (