|Location||Fremont County, Colorado|
|Managed by||Federal Bureau of Prisons|
The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) is a federal supermax prison for men located in the city of Florence in Fremont County, Colorado. It is unofficially known as ADX Florence, Florence ADMAX, Supermax, or the Alcatraz of the Rockies. It is part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex, which is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice, and houses the prisoners who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control of all the prisoners in the United States federal prison system.
ADX Florence was constructed as a response to several serious security breaches at federal prisons, including those that occurred at the United States Penitentiary, Marion, a high security facility in Marion, Illinois, on October 22, 1983, in which Correction Officers Merle Clutts and Robert Hoffman were stabbed to death in two separate incidents. Relatively lax security procedures allowed an inmate, while walking down a hall, to turn to the side and approach another cell so an accomplice could unlock his handcuffs with a stolen key and provide him with a knife. Both officers were killed using this tactic. Clutts's killer, Thomas Silverstein, is currently serving a life sentence at ADX. Hoffman's killer, Clayton Fountain, died in prison of natural causes in 2004.
As a response, USP Marion went into "permanent lockdown" and transformed itself into a "control unit" prison for the next 23 years, requiring inmates to remain in solitary confinement for 22 to 23 hours each day, and prohibiting communal dining, exercise, and religious services.
Following the killings, Norman Carlson, then director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, argued that a more secure type of prison needed to be designed, where uncontrollable inmates could be isolated from correction officers and other prisoners for the sake of security and safety. Marion became a model for the subsequent construction of ADX, a facility designed from the ground up as a control unit prison. Years later, Carlson said that building such a prison was the only way to handle inmates who "show absolutely no concern for human life". He pointed out that since Silverstein and Fountain were already serving multiple life sentences in a high security facility, simply adding another life sentence would have had no real effect or enhanced safety.
ADX opened in November of 1994. The residents of Fremont County welcomed the prison as a source of employment. 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 600 acres (240 ha) for the new prison. Hundreds of people attended the groundbreaking for the facility, which was designed jointly by two leading architecture firms in Colorado Springs, DLR Group and LKA Partners, and cost $60 million to build.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons allowed the media to take a guided tour of ADX on September 14, 2007. 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. One journalist who took the tour, 60 Minutes producer Henry Schuster, said: "A few minutes inside that cell and two hours inside Supermax were enough to remind me why I left high school a year early. The walls close in very fast."
ADX Florence houses about 490 male inmates, each assigned to one of six security levels.
The facility is best known for housing inmates who have been deemed too dangerous, too high-profile or too great a national security risk for even a maximum-security prison. These include the leaders of violent gangs who continued to issue orders to their members from lower security facilities, including Larry Hoover of the Gangster Disciples, and Barry Mills and Tyler Bingham of the Aryan Brotherhood. ADX also houses foreign terrorists, including the only person convicted in civilian court of the September 11th attacks, Zacarias Moussaoui, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef; as well as domestic terrorists, including serial bombers Theodore Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph. Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was housed at ADX before he was sentenced to death in 1997 and transferred to the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, which houses federal death row. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is currently serving a life sentence at ADX. Robert Hanssen, the former FBI agent who betrayed several spies to the Soviet Union and Russia, is serving a life sentence at ADX for his crimes. The prison also houses inmates who are a high escape risk, including Richard McNair, who escaped from a county jail and two other prisons before being sent to ADX.
However, the majority of inmates have been sent there because they have an extensive history of committing violent crimes against corrections officers and inmates in other prisons, up to and including murder. Inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for at least the first year. They then can be let out for longer periods depending on their conduct. The long-term goal is to transfer them to a less-restrictive prison to serve out the remainder of their sentences.
ADX Florence is a 490-bed complex at 5880 Highway 67, Florence, Colorado, about south of Denver. It is one part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FFCC), which comprises three correctional facilities, each with a different security rating.
The majority of the facility is underground. Each cell has a desk, a stool, and a bed, which are almost entirely made out of poured concrete, as well as a toilet that shuts off if blocked, a shower that runs on a timer to prevent flooding, and a sink lacking a potentially dangerous trap. Rooms may also be fitted with polished steel mirrors bolted to the wall, an electric light, a radio, and a black and white television that shows recreational, educational, and religious programming. These are considered privileges that may be taken away as punishment, so they are placed out of the inmate's reach and remotely controlled.
The 4 inch by 4 inch windows are designed to prevent inmates from knowing their specific location within the complex because they can see only the sky and roof through them, making it virtually impossible to plan an escape. Inmates exercise in a concrete pit resembling an empty swimming pool, also designed to prevent them from knowing their location in the facility. Telecommunication with the outside world is forbidden, and food is hand-delivered by correction officers. The prison as a whole contains a multitude of motion detectors and cameras, and 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors. 12 ft (3.7 m) tall razor wire fences surround the perimeter. Laser beams, pressure pads, and attack dogs alert staff of any activity between the perimeter fences and the prison walls.
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". Charles Harrelson, who was sent to ADX after a failed attempt to escape from a Georgia prison, said: "Part of the plan here is sensory deprivation...It could be infinitely worse." A former ADX warden described the place as "a cleaner version of Hell". There have been hundreds of "involuntary feedings" and four suicides. Most recently, in June 2009 Richard Reid, commonly known as the "shoe bomber", went on a hunger strike and was force-fed. Nonetheless, the prison has come under far less scorn than comparable facilities at the state level. Jamie Fellner of Human Rights Watch said after a tour of the facility, "The Bureau of Prisons has taken a harsh punitive model and implemented it as well as anybody I know."
Notable current inmates
This is a list of notable inmates who are currently held at Florence ADX. For a list of notable inmates formerly held at Florence ADX, please see Notable former inmates of US Penitentiary, Florence ADX.
|Inmate Name||Register Number||Status||Details|
|Ramzi Yousef||03911-000||Currently serving life sentences at ADX.||Al-Qaeda operatives; convicted in 1994 of terrorism conspiracy and other charges in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured over 1000. Yousef was also convicted of terrorism conspiracy in 1996 for planning Project Bojinka, a foiled plot conceived by senior Al-Qaeda member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to bomb twelve planes over the Pacific Ocean in a 48-hour period.|
|Juan Abrego||09935-000||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Convicted in 1996 of operating the Gulf Cartel, a criminal enterprise that smuggled thousands of tons of cocaine and marijuana into the United States from Mexico over a 16-year period.|
|H. Rap Brown||99974-555||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX under his actual name, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.||Sentenced to life in state prison for the 2000 murder of Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kinchen in Fulton County, Georgia, but is currently held at ADX because he is a high-profile inmate.|
|Vincent Basciano||30694-054||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Served as Acting Boss of the Bonanno Crime Family in 2004 after Boss Joseph Massino was arrested; convicted in 2006 of murder, murder conspiracy, and racketeering charges; convicted in 2011 of ordering the 2004 murder of Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo.|
|Tyler Bingham||03325-091||Currently serving life sentences at ADX.||Aryan Brotherhood prison gang founders; transferred to ADX in 2006 after being connected to violent gang activities in prison; convicted in of murder, murder conspiracy, and racketeering for ordering the killing of two African-American inmates at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg.|
|Anthony Casso||16802-050||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Former Underboss of the Lucchese Crime Family; apprehended in 1993 after 30 months on the lam and placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program; later dropped from the program due to multiple prison violations; subsequently pleaded guilty to murder, murder conspiracy and racketeering.|
|Seifullah Chapman||46868-083||Currently serving a 65-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2060.
Currently serving a 20-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2021.
|Associated with the Virginia jihad network; Chapman is a former US Marine convicted of providing material support to the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba by conducting military training for its members.Royer pleaded guilty to weapons charges, as well as to assisting others gain entry to a Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp in Pakistan.|
|Dritan Duka||61285-066||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Involved in the 2007 Fort Dix attack plot; convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers and possessing firearms with the intent to conduct a terrorist attack at the New Jersey military base. Four accomplices are serving sentences in other federal facilities.|
|Iyman Faris||46680-083||Currently serving a 20-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2020.||Al-Qaeda operative; pleaded guilty in 2003 to terrorism conspiracy and providing material support to Al-Qaeda by researching potential targets, including the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, and obtaining equipment to be used in attacks at the behest of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.|
|Luis Felipe||14067-074||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Leader of the Latin Kings gang; convicted in 1996 of multiple counts of murder and murder conspiracy for ordering the murders of rivals from state prison in New York and racketeering for running a criminal enterprise whose members engage in acts of violence, armed robbery, and narcotics trafficking; also known as "King Blood."|
|Jeff Fort||92298-024||Currently serving an 80-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2038.||Founder of the El-Rukn (Black P. Stones) gang in Chicago; convicted of drug trafficking charges in 1983; continued leading the gang from a minimum security federal prison; convicted of terrorism conspiracy in 1987 for agreeing to commit terrorist attacks inside the United States in exchange for weapons and $2.5 million from Libya.|
|Mohamed Al-Owhali||42371-054||Currently serving life sentences at ADX.||Al-Qaeda operatives; convicted in connection with the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, which were conceived by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden; the bombings killed 224 people and injured over 4000.|
|Matthew Hale||15177-424||Currently serving a 40-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2037.||Founder of the World Church of the Creator, once one of the largest neo-nazi groups in the United States; convicted in 2004 of soliciting the murder of Federal Judge Joan Lefkow in retaliation for ruling against him in a copyright lawsuit brought by a mainstream church with the same name.|
|Robert Hanssen||48551-083||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Former senior FBI agent assigned to counterintelligence; pleaded guilty in 2002 to espionage for passing classified information to the Soviet Union and later to Russia over a 20-year period; perpetrated what is known as the worst intelligence disaster in United States history.|
|Larry Hoover||86063-024||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Leader of the Gangster Disciples in Chicago; sentenced to life in state prison in 1973 for murder; convicted in 1997 of drug conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, and running a continuing criminal enterprise for leading the gang from state prison.|
|Mohammed Jabarah||06909-091||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Canadian citizen convicted of terrorism-related offenses in Canada, he was turned over to U.S. authorities after agreeing to assist them with terror investigations, but was sentenced to life in federal prison in 2003 as a result of violating the terms of his release.|
|Theodore Kaczynski||04475-046||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Known as the Unabomber; pleaded guilty in 1998 to building, transporting, and mailing explosives to carry out 16 bombings from 1978 to 1995 in a mail bombing campaign aimed at destroying modern technology, which killed three people and injured 23 others.|
|Ali Saleh al-Marri||12194-026||Currently serving an 8-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2015.||Pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists; attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan from 1998 to 2001; traveled to the United States in 2001 to conduct a terrorist attack at the behest of high-ranking Al-Qaeda member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. |
|Howard Mason||24651-053||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Convicted in 1989 of racketeering charges in connection with his leadership of "The Bebos," a violent drug gang in Queens, NY; ordered the 1988 murder of New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne.|
|Richard McNair||13829-045||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Convicted of a state murder charge; held at ADX due to multiple prison escapes; escaped from a county jail in North Dakota by using lip balm to slip out of handcuffs in 1987; escaped from the North Dakota State Penitentiary by crawling through a ventilator duct in 1992; escaped from the United States Penitentiary, Pollock in Louisiana by hiding under bags of mail in 2006.|
|Zacarias Moussaoui||51427-054||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Al-Qaeda senior member, pleaded guilty to terrorism conspiracy charges in 2005 for playing a key role in planning the September 11 attacks by helping the hijackers obtain flight lessons, money, and materials used during the attacks.|
|Terry Nichols||08157-031||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Convicted of carrying out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people. Co-conspirator Timothy McVeigh was executed in Indiana in 2001.|
|Jose Padilla||20796-424||Currently serving a 17-year sentence at ADX; awaiting resentencing after a federal Appeals Court ruled that his original sentence was too lenient.||One of the first American citizens to be designated as an enemy combatant after the September 11th attacks; convicted in 2007 of terrorism conspiracy for traveling overseas to attend an Al-Qaeda training camp in order to murder, kidnap, and maim citizens of a foreign country.|
|Uzair Paracha||54896-054||Currently serving a 30-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2029.||Convicted of providing material and financial support to Al-Qaeda member Majid Khan, who was planning terrorist bombings in Maryland. Khan is currently being held at the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.|
|Simón Trinidad||27896-016||Currently serving a 60-year sentence at ADX under the name Juvenal Ovidio Palmera Pineda; scheduled for release in 2056.||Member of the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Force (FARC), a Marxist group which advocates the violent overthrow of the Colombian government; convicted in 2007 of terrorism conspiracy for acting as a FARC negotiator in connection with the 2003 kidnapping of three American military contractors who were working with the Colombian government.|
|O.G. Mack||30063-037||Currently serving a 50-year sentence at ADX under his actual name, Omar Portee; scheduled for release in 2044.||Founder of the United Blood Nation gang; convicted in 2002 of racketeering and murder conspiracy, as well as narcotics and weapons charges.|
|Richard Reid||24079-038||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Al-Qaeda operative; pleaded guilty in 2002 to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder in connection with his 2001 attempt to detonate explosive devices hidden in his shoes on a plane traveling from Miami to Paris; known as the "Shoe Bomber."|
|Ahmed Ressam||29638-086||Currently serving a 22-year sentence at ADX; awaiting resentencing after a federal Appeals Court ruled that his original sentence was too lenient.||Al-Qaeda operative; arrested in Washington state while transporting explosives in a vehicle on a ferry from Canada; convicted in 2001 of terrorism conspiracy for planning to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on December 31, 1999 in what is known as one of the 2000 millennium attack plots.|
|Eric Rudolph||18282-058||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Member of the violent extremist group Army of God; pleaded guilty in 2005 to carrying out four bombings from 1996 to 1998 which killed two people and injured over 120, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta and the bombing of an abortion clinic in Alabama, causing the death of Birmingham Police Officer Robert Sanderson.|
|Mamdouh Salim||42426-054||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Al-Qaeda leader; arrested for involvement in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa; pleaded guilty to stabbing Correction Officer Louis Pepe at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York City in 2000.|
|Faisal Shahzad||63510-054||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Al-Qaeda supporter; pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and other charges in connection with the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt; received explosives training in 2009 from the terrorist organization Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan.|
|Thomas Silverstein||14634-116||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Aryan Brotherhood prison gang leader, he was transferred to ADX after murdering Correction Officer Merle Clutts at the United States Penitentiary, Marion, a high security facility in Illinois, in 1983 while serving a sentence for bank robbery.|
|Michael Swango||08352-424||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Physician and serial killer; pleaded guilty in 2000 to fatally poisoning three patients in New York and one in Ohio; has been linked to scores of other deaths.|
|Dwight York||17911-054||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Founder of the black separatist cult Nuwaubian Nation of Moors; made millions of dollars from the forced labor of cult members; convicted in 2004 on multiple counts of racketeering and child molestation for having sex with underage members; known by supporters as Dr. Malachi York.|
|Scott Fountain||02158-090||Currently serving a 60-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2044.||Aryan Brotherhood prison gang member; convicted of the 1984 murder of Correction Officer Boyd Spikerman at the Federal Correctional Institution, Oxford, a medium security facility in Wisconsin. Accomplice Matthew Granger was transferred from ADX to a federal Community Corrections Facility in Seattle.|
|Fares Khallafalla||34856-054||Currently serving a 30-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2019.||Follower of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman; convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy and terrorism conspiracy for planning to bomb high-profile targets in New York City as part of the foiled New York City landmark bomb plot. Several accomplices are serving sentences in other federal facilities.|
|Gazi Mezer||48705-053||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Member of the terrorist organization Hamas; convicted in 1998 of terrorism conspiracy for constructing pipe bombs he planned to use in a suicide attack in a New York City subway station.|
|Ahmed Sattar||53506-054||Currently serving a 24-year sentence at ADX; scheduled for release in 2023.||Co-defendant of disbarred attorney Lynne Stewart; convicted of assisting Stewart pass messages from her client, Omar Abdel Rahman, to the terrorist organization he heads, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, in violation of Special Administrative Measures prohibiting it. Stewart is serving a 10-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Texas.|
|Raul Leon||95335-198||Currently serving a life sentence at ADX.||Leader of the Mexican Mafia gang, which engages in murder, drug trafficking, robbery and money laundering; transferred to ADX after pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges in 2007 for running the gang from Pelican Bay State Prison, a maximum security facility in California, where he was serving a life sentence on a state murder charge.|
|Joseph Hernandez||02837-748||Currently serving life sentences at ADX.||Leaders of the Nuestra Familia gang, a part of the Norteños network of gangs, which engage in drug trafficking, extortion and murder inside and outside of prisons in California; arrested by federal authorities as part of Operation Black Widow in 2001; pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in 2004 for continuing to direct gang activities while serving sentences at Pelican Bay State Prison, a maximum security facility in California.|
- Supermax prison
- List of U.S. federal prisons
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Incarceration in the United States
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