ADX Florence

The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, CO. is a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, USA. It is unofficially known as "ADX Florence", "Florence ADMAX", "Supermax", or "The Alcatraz of the Rockies".cite news | last = Fernandes | first = Edna | coauthors = | title = Supermax prison, the Alcatraz of the Rockies | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = The Times | date = 2006-05-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-31] It is operated by the federal government and is part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FCC). ADX houses the prisoners who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control.


ADX Florence was constructed as a response to the October 22, 1983, correctional officer killings at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. Two inmates were able to kill their accompanying guards. Relatively lax security procedures allowed each prisoner, while walking down a hall, to turn to the side and approach a particular cell so an accomplice could unlock his handcuffs with a stolen key and provide him with a knife.

As a result, the prison in Marion went into "permanent lockdown" and transformed itself into a "control unit" prison. This penal construction and operation theory dictates that inmates remain in solitary confinement for 22–23 hours each day. They do not allow communal dining, exercising, or religious services. These practices are used as administrative measures to keep prisoners under control.

Following the killings, Norman Carlson, then director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, persuaded the federal government that a more secure type of prison needed to be designed. There was a need to isolate uncontrollable prisoners from officers and from other prisoners for the sake of security and safety. Marion became a model for the subsequent construction of ADX Florence, a facility built as a control unit prison.

ADX Florence opened in November 1994. The residents in Florence's surrounding area, Fremont County, welcomed the prison as a source of employment in a time of economic hardship. At the time, the county was already home to nine existing prisons. However, the lure of between 750 to 900 permanent jobs, in addition to another 1,000 temporary jobs during the prison's construction, led residents in the area to raise $160,000 to purchase convert|600|acre|km2|1 for the new prison. Hundreds of people attended the groundbreaking construction of ADX Florence, which cost over $60 million.

The prison

ADX Florence is a federal prison, comprising a 37 acre, 490-bed complex at 5880 Highway 67, Florence, Colorado. It is one of three correctional facilities of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FFCC), each with a different overall security level. [ [ USP Florence ADMAX] - Bureau of Prisons]

ADX Florence generally houses around 430 male prisoners, each assigned to one of six security levels. [ DLR Group] ] ADX Florence was designed jointly by DLR Group (a part of the architecture, engineering, planning and interiors firm specializing in incarceration-related facilities in the U.S.A.) and LKA Partners of Colorado Springs.

About 22% of inmates have killed fellow prisoners in other correctional facilities; 35% have attempted to attack other prisoners or officers. As a result, most individuals are kept for at least 23 hours each day in solitary confinement. They are housed in a convert|7|ft|m|2|abbr=on by convert|12|ft|m|2|abbr=on room, built behind a steel door and grate. The remaining free hour is spent exercising alone in a separate concrete chamber. Prisoners seldom see one another, and the inmates' only direct human interaction is with correctional officers. Visiting from outside the prison is conducted through glass, with each prisoner in a separate chamber. Religious services are broadcast from a small chapel.

Part of the prison is a "stepdown" program, designed to encourage less antisocial behavior and eventually transfer prisoners out of the ADX and back to the Maximum Security population. The program is three years in length, each year allowing more freedom and social contact with other inmates. Any violation during the program means participants revert to year one.

Most cells' furniture is made almost entirely out of poured concrete, including the desk, stool, and bed. Each chamber contains a toilet that shuts off if plugged, a shower that runs on a timer to prevent flooding, and a sink missing a potentially dangerous tap. Rooms may also be fitted with polished steel mirrors bolted to the wall, an electric light, a radio, and a convert|13|in|mm|sing=on black and white television set that shows recreational, educational and religious programming [ [,3566,194306,00.html "Fast Facts: Supermax Prison"] - Fox News - May 04, 2006] . These privileges can be taken away as punishment. The convert|4|in|m|2|abbr=on by convert|4|ft|m|2|abbr=on windows are designed to prevent the prisoner from knowing his specific location within the complex because he can see only the sky and roof through them. Telecommunication with the outside world is forbidden, and food is hand-delivered by correctional officers.

The prison as a whole contains a multitude of motion detectors and cameras, 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors, and convert|12|ft|m|2|abbr=on high razor wire fences. Laser beams, pressure pads, and attack dogs guard the area between the prison walls and razor wire.

Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber, lamented in a series of 2006 letters to a Colorado Springs newspaper that the ADX is meant to "inflict misery and pain." [ 12/11/2006 Eric Rudolph Says His Prison Inflicts Misery And Pain]

Reporters' first-ever tour

On September 14, 2007, the first-ever media tour of the U.S. Bureau of Prison's Administrative Maximum prison, or "Supermax," was allowed. Attending reporters remarked on "an astonishing and eerie quiet" within the prison as well as a sense of safety due to the rigorous security measures in place within the facility. [Frieden, Terry. [ " Reporters get first look inside mysterious Supermax prison"] - CNN - September 14, 2007]

Notable inmates

* Omar Abdel-Rahman, 34892-054, Islamist terrorist, nicknamed "The Blind Sheik"; involved in World Trade Center bombing planning in 1993
* Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, 16802-050, mobster and former underboss of the Lucchese crime family
*Wadih el-Hage, 42393-054, conspirator in the 1998 United States embassy bombings
* Matthew F. Hale, 15177-424, white supremacist leader; convicted of soliciting the murder of a federal judge
* Robert Hanssen, 48551-083, FBI agent; convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia
* Larry Hoover, 86063-024, leader of the Gangster Disciples Nation based in Chicago
* Theodore Kaczynski, 04475-046, the "Unabomber"
* David Lane (deceased), 12873-057, Neo-Nazi leader, involvement in Alan Berg's murder
* Juan Matta-Ballesteros, 37671-133, drug trafficker, co-conspirator in Enrique Camarena case
* Zacarias Moussaoui, 51427-054, conspirator in the September 11, 2001 attacks
* Terry Nichols, 08157-031, Oklahoma City Bombing conspirator
* Richard Colvin Reid, 24079-038, Islamist terrorist, "Shoe Bomber"
* Eric Robert Rudolph, 18282-058, Christian Identity terrorist, Olympic Park bomber
* Dwight York, 17911-054, leader of the Nuwaubianists; convicted for child molestation, racketeering and financial reporting charges
* Ramzi Yousef, 03911-000, Islamist terrorist, 1993 World Trade Center bombing
* Timothy McVeigh (deceased), Oklahoma City Bombing (executed on June 11, 2001)
* Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, 26301-053, an American drug trafficker and organized crime figure.
* H. Rap Brown, 99974-555, former civil rights activist convicted of murdering a Georgia sheriff deputy.
* Thomas Silverstein, 14634-116, convicted of murdering Federal Correctional Officer Merle E. Clutts
* Luis Felipe, 14067-074, founder of the New York chapter of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation
* Howard "Pappy" Mason, 24651-053, drug trafficker who ordered the murder of police officer Eddie Byrne.
* Barry Mills, leading member of the Aryan Brotherhood.
* Charles Harrelson (deceased), 02582-016, Texan hitman, convicted of murdering federal judge, father of actor Woody Harrelson (died on March 15, 2007 of a heart attack)
* Jose Padilla, 20796-424, convicted of aiding terrorists.
* Michael Swango, American surgeon and serial killer, convicted of at least 30 fatal poisonings.


External links

* [ Official website of Federal Bureau of Prisons] and its [ section on ADX Florence] . Information on visiting is on the linked [ PDF]

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