The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (USP Florence ADMAX),
More commonly known as ADX Florence
is a United States Federal Superhigh Security (or Supermax) prison located in Florence, Colorado
Also known as Florence ADMAX or "Alcatraz of the Rockies", it is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is part of a larger prison complex located in Florence, the Federal Correctional Complex of Florence.
This prison was designed to house those convicted of federal crimes deemed the most dangerous in the country and requiring close control. The main convicts for terrorism of the United States are incarcerated there as well as the criminals considered as the most dangerous, in particular the mafia or the members of gangs.
ADX Florence is built in response to the killings of prison guards on October 22, 1983 at Marion Federal Penitentiary (United States Penitentiary or USP) in Marion, Illinois, which was the only place of detention for prisoners at the time. the most dangerous. That day, two inmates, Thomas Silverstein and Clayton Fountain, members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist gang, managed to kill their accompanying guards during two separate incidents, stabbing them after uncuffing them.
Following the murder of the two wardens, Norman Carlson, then director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, succeeded in convincing the federal government that a new, even more secure type of correctional facility was needed. According to him, it is necessary to have a means of isolating out-of-control inmates, both from staff and from other inmates. Marion's transformation would serve as a model for the construction of ADX Florence, a prison built specifically and integrally to allow "individual control" of each inmate.
As a result, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) decides to transform Marion Penitentiary into a so-called "permanent confinement" prison. This amounts to keeping the detainees under tight control for between 22 and 23 hours a day, each in an individual cell of 8 square meters. Prisoners are not allowed to meet other prisoners, exercise, attend a religious service or participate in any other activity (walks, sports). Vocational training, collective or socialization activities (conversations between prisoners) are suppressed. If prisoners revolt, they are neutralized with a Taser and are tied, naked, on the concrete bed of their cell, without a mattress, for several days. These prohibitions aim to maintain constant surveillance of the detainee. It was at ADX Marion, where it was developed, that this new management policy for the American penitentiary system was initiated, despite an Amnesty International report denouncing these measures which flout the texts governing the treatment of prisoners enacted by the UN.
The prison is designed with two purposes: to prevent escape and to contain the worst category of criminals who are, according to Norman Carlson, "that very small category of the prison population which shows absolutely no concern for human life" and that "sufficiently desperate to murder guards or other inmates in hopes of being sentenced to death".
ADX Florence is included in a larger prison complex, the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FFCC), located in Florence, Colorado, approximately two hours drive south of Denver at 5880 Highway 67 in a rather arid area . It is one of three separate prisons in the complex, each with a different level of security.
It covers 15 hectares and is surrounded by fences and walls topped with barbed wire, razor blades and watchtowers.
A few notable prisoners.
1- Anthony Casso, New York mobster from the Lucchese family.
2- Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, Tijuana Cartel drug trafficker.
3- Ahmed Khalfan Gailani, ex-Guantanamo prison inmate.
4- Noshir Gowadia, engineer sentenced for spying for China to 32 years in prison.
5- Sammy Gravano, New York mobster from the Gambino family.
6- Joaquín Guzmán, alias "El Chapo", leader of the Sinaloa cartel, sentenced to life imprisonment, incarcerated in 2019.
7- Matthew F. Hale, white supremacist convicted of ordering the assassination of a federal judge.
8- Robert Hanssen, FBI counterintelligence agent sentenced for spying for the Soviet Union and Russia to 15 life terms.
9- Charles Harrelson (1938-2007), father of actor Woody Harrelson, convicted of murdering Federal Judge John H. Wood, Jr. in 1979.
10- Larry Hoover, leader of Chicago's Black Gangster Disciples Nation.
11- Theodore Kaczynski, aka "Unabomber", author of letter bombs, sentenced to 6 life terms.
12- Yū Kikumura, alleged member of the Japanese Red Army, incarcerated from 1988 to 2007.
13- David Lane (1938-2007), white supremacist and murderer of Alan Berg, a liberal Jewish talk-show host.
14- Howard Mason, known as "Pappy" Mason, drug dealer convicted of the murder of police officer Eddie Byrne.
15- Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; transferred in 1997 and executed in 2001 at the Terre Haute penitentiary.
16- Barry Mills (1948-2018), member of the Aryan Brotherhood imprisoned for 40 years for various crimes including prison murders.
17- Zacarias Moussaoui, conspirator of the September 11, 2001 attacks, sentenced to 6 life sentences.
18- Dandeny Muñoz Mosquera, aka "La Quica", Pablo Escobar's main hitman.
19- Terry Nichols, conspirator of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, sentenced to 161 life sentences.
20- José Padilla, alias "Abdullah al-Muhajir", an Islamist terrorist convicted in 2008.
21- Richard Reid, aka "Shoe bomber", Islamist terrorist.
22- Vito Rizzuto, leader of the Rizzuto clan and alleged leader of the Montreal Mafia. (released in 2012)
23- Eric Rudolph, member of the Army of God, perpetrator of the Centennial Park bombing during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
24- Thomas Silverstein, member of the Aryan Brotherhood, murderer of one of Marion prison guards, held in solitary confinement since 1983; incarcerated at ADX Florence since 2005.
25- Michael Swango, doctor and serial killer arrested in 1997 for murdering up to 60 people.
26 - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, perpetrator of the 2013 Boston bombings; sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2015, imprisoned at ADX Florence pending appeal.
27- Faisal Shahzad, perpetrator of the 2010 Times Square bombing.
Ramzi Yousef, Islamist terrorist, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.