United States Penitentiary, Florence High

United States Penitentiary (USP) Florence High is a high-security federal prison in Fremont County, Colorado. It’s part of the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Florence. According to BOP, it currently houses 720 male offenders.

The facility occupies 36,234 sqm out of the 49-acre total area of FCC Florence. Being a high-security prison, it’s equipped with a perimeter fence, a patrol road, and seven guard towers. But like most prisons, it also has a laundry, barbershop, a chapel, and a commissary. Inmates are kept in their cells for 22 hours a day. But they are free and even encouraged to interact with other inmates. The facility also has an exercise area where inmates can work out.

Like other federal facilities, inmates are allowed up to 300 minutes of calls per month. Each call is not to exceed 15 minutes. Every inmate has to perform a voice verification registration before making calls. They are only allowed to make calls from 6:00 AM until 11:30 PM Monday to Friday. Making calls during their scheduled working hours is also prohibited.

All inmates are also assigned a regular job provided that they’ve passed medical screenings. Most jobs are paid. Inmates can work in institutional maintenance jobs like food service or in a maintenance shop. There are also factory jobs available where they can learn skills in preparation for their reentry into society. But they usually have a long waiting list.

Because of its heightened security level, the prison has hosted many violent inmates since it opened in 1993. One of which is Gary Ridgway who is more famously known as the Green River Killer. He is convicted for various charges of rape, murder, and necrophilia. Another is Ronell Wilson, a gang leader in Staten Island who murdered two NYPD detectives.

In 2008, the facility also made headlines due to a bloody riot in the prison courtyard. It started when white supremacists began yelling racist slurs at black inmates. Armed with rocks and shanks, they began stabbing other inmates. In the ensuing chaos, the officers on the watchtowers shot and killed two armed inmates.

Contact Information:

Location: 5880 Highway 67 S Florence, Colorado 81226

Email: FLX-ExecAssistant-S@bop.gov

Phone: 719-784-9454

Fax: 719-784-5157

Authored by Judy Ponio

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