The 12 Best Federal Prisons to Do Time

CNBC has a slideshow of the 12 best federal prisons to do time, as compiled by Alan Ellis, criminal defense attorney and co-author of the “Federal Prison Guidebook.”

The slideshow takes forever to click through, so I'll just list them, along with any unique features Alan notes. CNBC says the list is not in any particular order. For the uninitiated, FPC means Federal Prison Camp (least restrictive), FCI is Federal Correctional Institution and USP is US Prison (most restrictive, except for SuperMax.) [More...]

  • FPC Montgomery (AL): Inmates can work outside the camp on the military base as gardeners and landscapers. They can also take correspondence courses from Troy State Univ. in business, psychology, art, music, and foreign language.
  • FPC Pensacola (FL): Also on a military base ( Pensacola Naval Air Station) so inmates can work outside the camp. Activities include movie nights, intramural sports, racquetball, and bocce ball.
  • FPC Yankton (SD): Inmates go into the community by volunteering for local nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity. Inside the camp, inmates can play sports, take art lessons, or play instruments in the music room. It also has a big library.
  • FCI Morgantown (W. VA): Apprenticeships are available in commercial photography, computer technology, and plumbing. And foosball, pingpong, and bumper-pool tables.
  • FPC Alderson (W.VA): For females, think Martha Stewart, inmates can swim in the pool and participate in talent and game shows. They can also play volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis, racquetball, basketball, or go roller skating.
  • FCI and FPC Otisville (NY): Really good for Jewish inmates. There’s a full-time rabbi, religious furloughs and (I'll add, since I've had clients there) special food for many Jewish holidays.
  • FCI Sheridan (OR): Nice visiting facilities and variety of organized sports, such as flag football, soccer, and volleyball. There's also training in construction, personal fitness training, and landscape design.
  • FCI Sandstone (MN): Inmates have a craft center for leather craft, can paint and make stained glass. There are intramural or extramural sports, a pool table, and religious services for many faiths — including Catholic, Jewish, Native American, and Muslim.
  • FPC Lewisburg (Adjacent to FPC Lewisburg in PA): Good staff (that's it?)
  • FCI Butner (NC): Has a Medical Center, Alan says it is viewed as the “crown jewel of the Bureau of Prisons.”
  • FCI Taft (CA): Privately run, has good visiting facilities for kids and clean bathrooms
  • FCI Dublin (CA): For women. The staff have "progressive attitudes." (According to BOP, it also offers instruction in computer graphics (i.e., Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects) and business applications and training leading to a Certified Forklift Operator’s License. There are also apprenticeships in bakery, dental assistant, and carpentry fields.

Not mentioned is the Federal Prison Camp at Leavenworth which has an organic and self-sustaining farm as part of the prison’s Therapy and Mentoring Horticulture Program. Or FCC Coleman which has a Culinary Arts program.

Here's the 2009 State of the Bureau report.

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    Prisons (none / 0) (#1)
    by Plasmax on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:58:17 PM EST
    We seem to forget that the Supreme Court has upheld on several occasions that under the Eight Amendment of the US Constitution the foremost purpose of incarceration is rehabilitation not punishment

    I don't think that is correct (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 08:29:28 PM EST
    Can you point to any specific examples of Supreme Court decisions that would support your claim? I can't even think how that question would come before the Supremes for decision.

    Snark? (none / 0) (#3)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 12:31:54 AM EST
    Not as far as I'm concerned (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peter G on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 09:50:04 AM EST
    I took the comment (#1) to be sincere, and sincerely question (#2) its accuracy and also its plausibility.