Barbara Ester Unit

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Barbara Ester Unit
LocationPine Bluff, Arkansas
Managed byArkansas Department of Correction
Location of Pine Bluff in Arkansas, and Pine Bluff in Jefferson County

Barbara A. Ester Unit is a correctional facility of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It is scheduled to have a capacity of 580 prisoners, and it is the first prison in the ADC dedicated to the re-entry of prisoners into society.[1] In addition to prisoners who are to be released within six months, it also houses prisoners who were incarcerated due to disobeying the rules of their parole.[2] The prison's namesake is Barbara Ester, a prison guard holding the rank corporal at the East Arkansas Unit. She died on January 20, 2012, at the hands of a prisoner.[1]


It was previously known as the Diagnostic Unit. In 2015, the Ester Unit began to receive prisoners.[2] The prison's dedication as the Ester Unit occurred in August 2016; at that time, its capacity was temporarily 380 prisoners.[1]

In December 2016, the ADC announced that it would move about 175 prisoners from the Pulaski County Jail's Wrightsville Annex to the Ester Unit; the Wrightsville Annex held prisoners soon to be released and parole violators, and the ADC stated it did not have the necessary funds to operate both Ester and the Wrightsville annex. The Ester Unit's construction was scheduled to finish in late March 2017.[2]


The prison has a dedicated barracks for military veterans who have prison sentences. There is a General Education Development (GED) program and the "Preparing for Success" program, a re-entry program which uses the National Institute of Corrections Thinking for a Change (T4C) curriculum.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Family, prison officials dedicate new Ester Reentry Unit". The Pine Bluff Commercial. 2016-08-24. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  2. ^ a b c King, Ray (2016-12-01). "Prison Barbara Ester Unit to add additional beds, prisoners". The Pine Bluff Commercial. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2017-08-01.

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Coordinates: 34°13′19″N 92°04′59″W / 34.222°N 92.083°W / 34.222; -92.083