Foothills Correctional Institution

Address: 5150 Western Ave.  Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-438-5585
County: Burke
Offender capacity: 858
Facility type: Male - Close and Minimum Custody

Foothills Correctional Institution opened in 1994 and provides close custody housing in 712 single cells.  Minimum custody offenders are housed in nearby dormitories on the same campus. Close custody male offenders 18-25 years old are housed at the main institution. The minimum custody unit houses adult minimum custody offenders.

Harold Reep

Harold Reep


Programs and Activities

Special Populations

  • Security Threat Group Management Unit
  • Restrictive Housing
  • Chronic disease unit (minimum custody)


  • Western Piedmont Community College
  • Adult Basic Education / GED
  • Victim sensitivity training

Work programs

  • Laundry
  • Food services
  • Janitorial services
  • Barbers
  • Clerks
  • Canteen operators

Religious activities

  • Group studies
  • Worship services
Tab/Accordion Items

Foothills Correctional Institution is located on 180 acres 3.5 miles south of Morganton adjacent to Western Youth Institution. The first offenders entered the prison May 2, 1994.

Offenders in close custody are housed at the main institution between the ages of 18-25 years of age. The detached Minimum Custody Unit, located behind Western Youth Institution, houses adult minimum custody offenders.

Offenders will be sent to Foothills based on classification reassignment, promotions/demotions in custody, administrative transfer from other close security prisons, restrictive housing needs and security threat group needs.

Foothills provides 712 close security single cells. The prison is comprised of four buildings for offender housing and the administrative building that includes administrative offices, visiting area, recreation area, dining hall, vocational and academic classrooms, warehouse, programs, medical and mental health offices.

The main institution has 136 cells for restrictive housing, 192 designated for Security Threat Group Management, 234 for offenders in education and vocational programs and 150 for offenders assigned to jobs inside the prison.

The minimum custody unit received its first inmates in September 2003. The unit was renovated for offender occupancy after the IMPACT West Boot Camp program was eliminated in 2002 budget cuts. The Minimum Custody Unit also houses a chronic disease unit for the Western Region and provides 56 offenders to the Correctional Enterprise Broughton Laundry Operation.

Adult Correction and Western Piedmont Community College teachers provide education and vocational programs full-time for 200 offenders and part-time for another 100. Education offerings will include basic skill instruction for offenders who have less than an eighth grade education level and other classes to prepare offenders to take and pass the adult high school equivalency exam.

The prison's $31.3 million construction was funded in July 1990 as part of a $75 million prison construction program. The property, known locally as the Leonard farm, was donated to Adult Correction from the Department of Agriculture in March 1991. Grading work on the site began that month.

Foothills is a cashless facility in which an offender uses a debit type card to purchase canteen items from his inmate trust fund account. Foothills has a total of six canteens within the facility which are operated by offenders seven days a week. A cashless facility decreases the ability of funds to be misplaced by staff and also keeps offenders from using this as a bargaining tool while being housed with other offenders.

Foothills participates in an in-service training consortium with Western Youth Institution, Alexander Correctional Institution and several prison facilities in coordination with Western Piedmont Community College. Annually required training in courses such as firearms, self-defense, CPR and report writing is provided to all certified criminal justice staff.

The prison also provides victim sensitivity training to increase awareness of sexual victimization and to develop empathy towards the victims of sexual abuse, acceptance of personal responsibility for the offender's behavior and strategies to counter the offender's distorted thinking.

The Security Threat Group Management Unit has been in operation since July 11, 2005, at the main institution. This is an agency initiative funded by Federal Grant and matching State funds. This unit can house 192 offenders validated as Security Threat Group members. The intensive program treatment is dedicated to providing a controlled environment for disruptive offenders associated with validated gangs in North Carolina and breaking gang affiliation through renunciation and specialized programming. This program is provided to the highest level validated Security Threat Group offenders from across the state with the population age range of 18 and above.