The United States has long been criticized for putting more people in prisons than any other democracy. The authorities in the US, on the other hand, deem it necessary to ensure the country is as free from crimes as possible, ensuring long-lasting peace and stability.
The problem does not end with a large number of prisons or having too many inmates serving in them but also the poor conditions in which these prisons. Many of the worst prisons in any democracy in the world are present in the United States of America, and over the years, there has been a very little amount of effort to curb these issues.
In this article, we will be looking into the 7 worst Federal Prisons in the United States.
What is the Federal Bureau of Prisons?
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a US law enforcement agency that works under the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The BOP is tasked to ensure people who commit federal crimes are given the care that comes under prison laws, maintain the security of prisons, and control the incarcerated individuals so that federal prisons remain a place where incarcerated violators are given due educational care that serves their rehabilitation.
How does the Federal Bureau of Prisons classify Federal Prisons?
There are 7 different classifications through which the Federal Bureau of Prisons classify them:
- United States Penitentiaries
- Federal Correctional Institutions
- Private Correctional Institutions
- Federal Prison Camps
- Administrative Facilities
- Federal Correctional Complexes
- Former Federal Facilities
What are the 7 worst Federal Prisons in the United States?
These are the 7 worst Federal Prisons in the United States of America:
Located near Florence, Colorado. This is on top of our list for all the right reasons because, unlike other things that make a prison worse; this prison is designed to be just that. ADX Florence is a federal prison designed for some of the worst and most notorious; therefore has the title of the Supermax facility.
The facility is stretched across 49 acres of land and has different variations of security classes. Since media visits are almost nonexistent to this facility, not much is known about it. The prison has a total of 344 inmates in 2022 who are to serve 23 hours of their day in confined single cells.
The inmates are not allowed to talk to anyone, and the food is served in their cells, made up of reinforced concrete with a small slit window that only shows the color of the sky. The staff-inmate ratio is one of the highest in the US in this prison, thus ensuring there is a 24 hours supervision of every inmate's activity.
The prison is on no one’s list because inmates are supposed to feel worse about themselves all day long and are made to follow a monotonous routine with the same food being served to them.
United States Penitentiary, Thomson:
Formerly known as “Thomson Correctional Center,” the facility is a high-security Federal prison located in Thomson, Illinois. The facility is closed by a 7000-volt electric fence which is surrounded by another 12-foot tall razor wire exterior fence.
One of the major reasons why serving at this prison makes it so worse is that out of the eight-cell houses, one is reserved for the most troubled inmates and their cells are exactly how they are made at ADX Florence. Since 2012, the BOP has had plans to transfer former Guantanamo Bay inmates to this prison.
Apart from the facility housing some of the worst inmates, it is also a place where there is constant violence, and the occurrence of murders is not uncommon. According to Joseph Shapiro, an investigative journalist, the prison has a serious issue of murders and violence. Despite having such a massive guards-to-inmate ratio, it is still not enough to curb this prison's challenges.
What’s even worse is, since the nature of this prison is to keep it away from public and media eyes, there is no data on how many inmates have been killed and who killed them.
United States Penitentiary, Atlanta:
Located in Atlanta, the US Penitentiary Atlanta is amongst the worst federal prisons out there. The facility is a medium-level security one and has a population of 793 inmates. It was opened in 1902, and little has remained changed over the years.
The prison caught the attention during the 1987 riots when Cuban inmates, worried about being detained back in their country, the inmates rioted, and authorities lost control for 11 days. While the authorities caught control of the prison, however, it appears the prison is still one of the most unpredictable places out there.
According to a report by Terri Whitehead, a former administrator of the facility said, the prison is filled with widespread drug abuse; there is no substandard medical care, the mental health of inmates is at its worst levels, it is rampant and out of control violence and the condition of toilets is miserable.
There have been whistleblowers before Whitehead; however, it appears the issues faced in this federal prison are those that no one cares for and wants to pay attention to.
United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy:
The fourth prison on our list is the US Penitentiary, Big Sandy also referred to as “Big Sandy,” a high-security prison with 1,321 inmates. Opened in 2003, a relatively young prison, but it has remained in the eyes of the media for all the reasons no one wants to know about it.
Since 2006, just three years since the prison was opened, there have been cases of second-degree murders, riots, murders, drug abuse, and so much more. However, the authorities ensure order persists in this prison relatively a better place.
Federal Correctional Institution, Allenwood Low:
FCI Allenwood is a low-security prison that is located in Pennsylvania. The prison is a part of Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The prison has remained calm over the years, but this does not mean it is a safe place for inmates; even then, there are cases of drug abuse, services in prison are not maintained, and guards use excessive force on inmates to exhibit their dominance, and so much more.
All of this is a reason why the living conditions of inmates are unsafe since there is a constant fear of things going out of hand.
Federal Correctional Institution, Beaumont:
Opened in 1998, the FCI Beaumont is located in Texas. The prison has two different facilities. The one is for low-security inmates, whereas the other one is for medium-security facilities.
Over the years, the prison has seen some of the worst riots and murders. The prison, on 31st January 2022, had to go on lockdown when two inmates were murdered by another gang. The system-wide lockdown was placed when considering upcoming attacks on not just the guards or other inmates but also the workers doing repair work in the facility.
United States Penitentiary, Victorville:
Opened in the year 2004, the prison is a high-security class prison located in California for male inmates. Just like other maximum security class prisons, Victorville is no exception to gang fights, guards abuse, and much more.
The first incident of murder happened within just a year of the prison’s opening when on 11th April, 2005 an inmate killed another inmate over a dispute regarding less than $10.00 worth of tobacco.
Over the years, and till now, the incidents of murders are a common ground in this prison.