Understanding the Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is the agency responsible for overseeing and incarcerating pre-trial (indicted) and post-trial (convicted) inmates. Federal inmates differ from those in county jails and state prisons because the crime they are either being accused of or have been convicted of violates specific federal laws.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has many different types of facilities that incarcerate inmates. That is because they deal with such a wide range of inmate types, from non-violent Wall Street tycoons serving a few years in a ‘Camp’ with no fences, to the most dangerous and deadly serial murderers who are only allowed to leave their cells and go into a small exercise cage for one hour per day.
When referring to a federal prison, you always place the acronym of the prison ‘type’ in front of the name (or location) of the prison. For example, USP Allenwood is a United States Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. US Penitentiaries are always either medium or maximum-security facilities. They house the most violent, and in many cases, the longest-term prisoners in the BOP. The only exception is the ADX (or ADMAX), a Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado that houses the ‘worst of the worst’ prisoners such as the late John Gotti, the Unabomber, serial killers who cannot mix with other inmates, and other incorrigibles such as convicted terrorists.
Federal Correctional Institutions (FCI), are classified as both medium and low-security facilities. The lowest security facilities, Prison Camps (FPC and SCP), allow for freedom of movement on the entire prison grounds outside of the security walls and razor wire. Prison Camp inmates handle much of the maintenance and upkeep of the complex. Americans have often heard these referred to as ‘Club Fed’, due to the fact that they are thought of as much less restrictive than a regular prison.
In addition to the standard lockups, the BOP maintains many Maximum-Security Detention Centers (FDC, MDC and MCC), Medical Facilities (FMC and MCFP), privately owned Correctional Institutions (CI), Con-Air Prisoner Transfer Centers (FTC) and Female Facilities (SFF).
Prior to an inmate’s release from the custody of the BOP, they will first transition into a Residential Reentry Center (RRM). Inmates in the ‘halfway houses’ are required to take responsibility for the cooking, cleaning and upkeep and by working a full-time job to subsidize the cost of the facility. After their release from a BOP facility, every federal inmate must undergo several years of supervised release (probation) before they can experience the real freedom we all enjoy.
BOP Facility types
|ADX||Administrative-Maximum U.S. Penitentiary|
|FCC||Federal Correctional Complex|
|FCI||Federal Correctional Institution|
|FDC||Federal Detention Center|
|FMC||Federal Medical Center|
|FPC||Federal Prison Camp|
|FSL||Federal Satellite Low|
|FTC||Federal Transfer Center|
|MCC||Metropolitan Correctional Center|
|MCFP||Medical Center for Federal Prisoners|
|MDC||Metropolitan Detention Center|
|RRC||Residential Reentry Center|
|SFF||Secure Female Facility|
|SCP||Satellite Prison Camp|