Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:February 22nd, 2007 03:01 EST
Security at the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons Adminstrative Maximum Security Facility

Security at the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons Adminstrative Maximum Security Facility

By SOP newswire

Securing convicted terrorists and other violent criminals so that they no longer pose a threat to society is a top priority for the Department of Justice. For the second time in two years, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales toured the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Administrative Maximum Security (ADX) facility in Florence, Colorado today to see first hand the security at the nation’s most secure prison. Since it opened in 1994, BOP has continuously enhanced security through additional staffing and the new features at this facility.

ADX staffing levels

  • Currently there are 327 staff members assigned to the ADX, which houses 474 inmates.

  • Staffing at ADX Florence in general, and for correctional officers in particular, is appropriate for the security and safe operation of the facility. Over the past year, correctional officer staffing has increased–presently 92 percent of authorized positions are filled.

  • The inmate-to-staff ratio at ADX Florence is the lowest in the BOP and is comparable to or lower than other “supermax” prisons.

Recent Safety and Security Enhancements:

  • Recent upgrades in security technology at ADX enhance the staff’s ability to supervise inmates. Over the past two years 96 cameras were added and 64 older cameras were replaced. There are now more than 400 cameras in operation at the facility.

  • Rates of serious assaults on staff and inmates remain low due to a number of resource intensive strategies such as technological advances and proactive correctional management practices including lockdowns, inmate transfers, etc.

  • In December 2006, a complex-wide armed mobile patrol vehicle was added to provide additional perimeter security.

  • Additionally a “comm-tower,” encrypted monitoring system was installed at the complex that provides ground level and overhead views of all facilities at the complex. Additional plans are in place to further enhance the abilities of the tower.

Enhancements to Monitor Inmate Communication:

  • Since October 2006, BOP has monitored 100 percent of the general mail being sent to or from inmates designated by BOP as terrorist inmates. There are currently 213 terrorist inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system wide – 33 of whom are subject to Special Administrative Measures. BOP defines terrorist inmates as those having been convicted of, charged with, associated with, or linked to terrorist activities, or belonging to organizations that planned and/or executed violent and destructive acts against the government and/or privately owned U.S. corporations.

  • Mail is not delivered to or sent from such inmates until after it is read (translated if necessary) and analyzed for intelligence purposes. If suspicious content is found, the correspondence is referred to the FBI for analysis prior to being processed any further.

  • BOP monitors 100 percent of phone calls for these inmates; however, because language translators may not always be available, BOP records all such conversations for translation. To address this, BOP is concentrating resources in a counter-terrorism unit that will greatly enhance the agency's capabilities for language translation, content analysis and intelligence sharing. BOP has several full-time language specialists to monitor terrorist communications and has worked with the FBI to greatly increase assistance in analyzing such communications.

  • Two FBI employees in Colorado, one special agent and one intelligence analyst, have been assigned to assist ADX Florence with terrorist communication and intelligence matters. Special Investigative Supervisory staff from each institution have received Terrorist Management training. In December 2006, 20 BOP intelligence staff participated in an intensive intelligence gathering and analysis training course provided by the FBI.
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888