FCI Petersburg Low | Petersburg Federal Prison

Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low is a low-security federal prison in Hopewell, Virginia. It is also known as FCI Petersburg Low. FCI Petersburg Camp is adjacent to the main institution. Both Virginia federal prisons house male inmates.

FCI Petersburg Low Contact Information

Facility Address & Contact Information

Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low
1100 River Road
Hopewell, VA 23860

Phone: 804-733-7881
Fax: 804-863-1510
Email: [email protected]

BOP Website: Bureau of Prisons Page
Wikipedia: Wikipedia Page

Inmate Correspondence Address

FCI Petersburg Low

Inmate Name and Registration Number
FCI Petersburg Low
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804

FCI Petersburg Prison Camp

Inmate Name and Registration Number
FCI Petersburg Camp
Satellite Prison Camp
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804

How to Send Money

Federal prisoners cannot receive funds directly. Family and friends can send money to an inmate through Western Union, Money Gram, or the National Lockbox in Des Moines, Iowa.

When sending money through Western Union or Money Gram, you must provide the inmate’s name, registration number, and the prison’s code. The National Lockbox accepts checks or money orders paid to the Bureau of Prisons with the inmate’s name and registration number in the memo line.

Please read our page on sending money to an inmate in federal prison for more information.

Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low Inmate Information

Inmate Gender

Male Inmates

Prison Security Level

Facility Location

The low-security Petersburg federal prison is 25 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia.

BOP Region

Mid-Atlantic Region

BOP Institution Code

PET for FCI Petersburg Low, PEX for Petersburg Federal Correctional Complex (FCC Petersburg)

Medical Care Level

Level 2. See our page on Medical Care Levels and Procedures for more information.

Mental Health Care Level

Level 2.

Judicial District

Eastern District of Virginia

Population Number

FCI Petersburg Low houses approximately 560 inmates. The camp houses around 200 inmates.

FCI Petersburg Low | Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg

FCI Petersburg Low Prison Services Information


Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low is a low-security federal prison in Hopewell, Virginia. It opened in 1932 and is part of the Petersburg Federal Correctional Complex. Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Camp opened in 1978. Both Petersburg federal prisons house male inmates.

FCI Petersburg Low and the camp primarily house inmates to be released in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. In 2017, the basement portions of the inmate housing units were deemed a health hazard and closed.

FCI Petersburg Medium is next to these prison facilities. This medium-security federal prison housing a Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP). All three are Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Notable inmates include:

  • Former Tennessee police officer Richard Chandler (serving 25 years for child pornography offenses)
  • Roger Loughry, Sr. (serving a 30-year sentence for advertising and distributing child pornography)
  • Former Washington (DC) mayor Marion Barry

Media reports indicate that at least two guards have been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate; one was also convicted of bribery and smuggling contraband into the institution.

Inmate Housing

Inmates live in dormitories in two- or four-person cubicles. Most of the six housing units do not have air conditioning. Two of the older housing units have ten- and twelve-person rooms.

Health Services

Inmates at the Petersburg federal prison have access to various medical services, including:

  • Sick Call
  • Medications
  • Treatment of Medical Emergencies
  • Dental Sick Call
  • Routine Dental Care
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing Aids
  • Physical Examinations
  • HIV Testing

Inmates must attend sick calls to be seen by their primary healthcare provider. A sick call is conducted at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Psychology Services

FCI Petersburg Low offers counseling and a variety of psychology treatment groups, including:

  • Stress Management
  • Anger Management
  • Criminal Thinking
  • Additional Groups

Treatment offerings change quarterly based on inmate population needs. The Religious Services Department also offers the Life Connections Program for inmates wanting to grow as responsible persons.

Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)

Petersburg federal prison houses the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). It also offers the Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NR-DAP), a Drug Education class, Smart Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

FCI Petersburg Low Educational, Library, and Recreation Offerings

Education Services

FCI Petersburg Low and the camp provide GED, English as a Second Language (ESL), Adult Continuing Education (ACE), and parenting programs. Current ACE offerings include couponing, algebra, math, statistics, aviation history, and real estate.

High school diplomas and post-secondary degrees are available through paid correspondence programs.

Learn more about FCI Petersburg’s inmate education programs here.

Advanced Occupational Education

Petersburg prison and the camp do not offer advanced occupational education programs.

Vocational Training

FCI Petersburg Low offers vocational training in Carpentry, Machinist, and Masonry. No vocational training is available at the camp.


Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low offers Binder, Cook, HVAC, Landscape, Machinist, Maintenance Electrician, and Plumbing apprenticeships. No apprenticeships are available at the camp.

Library Services

The Petersburg federal prison’s general library includes a variety of magazines, newspapers, reference materials, and fiction and nonfiction books. A DVD movie program and an Interlibrary Loan Program are also available.

Inmates can prepare legal documents and have reasonable access to legal materials via the TRULINCS Electronic Law Library (LexisNexis). Additionally, the law library contains required legal publications, general legal reference materials, and a selection of Bureau of Prisons policies. Typewriters and a copy machine are also available for inmate use.

Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, excluding meals, recalls, and counts.


FCI Petersburg Low UNICOR houses a printing plant.


Inmates may use funds in their account to purchase items at the institution commissary, place funds on their inmate phone account, purchase TRU-Units for their TRULINCS account, and send funds out of the institution using Form BP-199.

Inmates must have their commissary card in their possession for identification purposes. Inmates can purchase various items in the commissary, including beverages, food, snacks, clothing, and electronics. Inmates can spend up to $360 per month in the commissary.

Shopping is conducted Monday through Thursday between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Inmates can only shop once a week on their designated shopping day.

Recreation Services

Recreation facilities at FCI Petersburg Low include many options, including:

  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoor Weight-Lifting Pavilion
  • Athletic Fields
  • Handball and Racquetball Court
  • Basketball Courts
  • Tennis Court
  • Bocce Ball Court
  • Walking Track

The recreation program offers both structured and leisure-time activities. Organized intramural leagues are available throughout the calendar year. These are organized by housing unit and include:

  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Softball
  • Frisbee
  • Basketball
  • Flag Football

Additional programs include an Institutional Movie Program, an Inmate Photo Program, a Band & Music Program, activities on recognized federal holidays, and various other programs. The hobby craft programs include drawing, painting, leathercraft kits, crochet, and cross-stitch. Inmates can access pool tables and tables where Role Playing Games (RPG) can be played.

Visitation Information for FCI Petersburg Low

On Sundays and Saturdays, visiting hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. On Monday, Thursday, and Friday, visitation is held between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. On federal holidays visitation is held between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. See our page on prisoner visitation rules for more information.

FCI Petersburg Low | Petersburg Federal Prison

FCI Petersburg Low Prison Culture Information

Prison Politics at Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low

This is not a political yard. Inmates are not required to join a car or gang to stay.

Level of Violence

There is a very minimal level of violence at this prison. One respondent said, “As a whole, this is a place where you are safe from people hurting you.” Another inmate agreed, stating, “There is no violence here.”

Vulnerable Populations

Sex offenders, informants, and LGBT inmates can walk the yard. Due to the Petersburg Medium being a SOMP institution, there are many sex offenders at this facility. One inmate said, “All these groups can easily walk this yard.”

Good at FCI Petersburg Low

“Our yard is pretty laid back. The guards usually leave inmates alone, but you can’t get anything from them when needed since they are so lazy.” “You can watch TV all night.”

“Cell phones and drugs aren’t too hard to access.” “Sometimes, you can get a second food tray in the chow hall.”

“Food is good.” “Officers are generally polite.” “It’s a slack place, which is generally good.”

Bad at FCI Petersburg Federal Prison

“Very boring.” “Not many programs.” “Rundown inmate housing units. You see cock- roaches every day. All of the roofs leak.”

“No air conditioning and the weather gets very hot in the summer.”

Other Inmate Comments

“It’s a good go-home spot.”

FCI Petersburg Low in the News

In 2016, Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low guard Catandra M. Chavis was accused of having sex with a prisoner in January 2015 and lying to federal authorities over plans to smuggle contraband into prison for him.

In 2007, Alfreda Best, another FCI Petersburg Low guard, pleaded guilty to accepting several thousand dollars in bribes to smuggle contraband to one prisoner, Miguel Cabrera, and having a consensual sexual relationship with another inmate, Rodney Simmons.

Petersburg Prison Camp in the News

In January 2015, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in federal prison for a false declaration of bankruptcy and was expected to serve his term of imprisonment at Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Camp.

More Information About Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Low

While a few books claim to offer an inside look at life in federal prison, few can match the insights of Christopher Zoukis. In his two books, the Federal Prison Handbook and the Directory of Federal Prisons, Zoukis provides readers with a comprehensive and detailed look at what it is like to be incarcerated in a federal facility.

Through personal anecdotes and informative interviews, he covers everything from the daily routine to the effects of long-term confinement. As someone who has experienced both the highs and lows of federal prison life, Zoukis is uniquely positioned to offer an insider’s perspective on this often misunderstood world.