The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence is a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. It is unofficially known as ADX Florence, Florence ADMAX, Supermax, or the Alcatraz of the Rockies. It is operated by the federal government and is part of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FCC). ADX houses the prisoners who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control.
There is only one supermax prison in the United States federal system. However, many states now have created supermax prisons; either as standalone facilities, or as secure units within lower security prisons. The federal supermax prison is currently ADX Florence in Florence< Colorado. State supermax prisons include Pelican Bay in California and Tamms in Illinois. The USP in Marion, Illinois, was recently downgraded to a medium security facility.
ADX Florence is a federal prison, comprising a 37 – acre, 490-bed complex at 5880 Highway 67, Florence, Colorado. It is one of 3 correctional facilities of the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (FFCC), each with a different overall security level. ADX Florence houses around 430 male prisoners, each assigned to one of six security levels. ADX Florence was designed jointly by DLR Group Justice (a part of the architecture, engineering, planning and interiors firm specialising in incarceration-related facilities in the U.S.A.) and LKA Partners of Colorado Springs.
About 22% of Inmates have killed fellow prisoners in other correctional facilities; 35% have attempted to attack other prisoners or officers. As a result, most individuals are kept for at least 23 hours each day in solitary confinement. They are housed in a 7-by-12ft (3.5-by2m) room, built behind a steel door and grate. The remaining free hour is spent exercising alone in a separate concrete chamber. Prisoners rarely see each other, and the inmates’ only direct human interaction is with correctional officers. Visiting from outside the prison is conducted through glass, with each prisoner in a separate
chamber. Religious services are broadcast from a small chapel. Part of the prison is a ‘stepdown’ program, designed to encourage less anti-social behaviour and eventually transfer prisoners out of ADX and back to the Maximum Security population. The program is 3 years in length, each year allowing more freedom and social contact with other inmates. Any violation during the program means participants revert to year one.
Most cells’ furniture is made almost entirely out of poured concrete , including a desk, stool, and bed covered by a thin mattress. Each chamber contains a toilet that shuts off if plugged, a shower that runs on a timer to prevent flooding and a sink missing a potentially dangerous tap. Rooms may also be fitted with polished steel mirrors bolted to the wall, an electric light, a radio, a 13-inch black and white television set that shows recreational, educational and religious programming, and a cigarette lighter. These privileges can be taken away as punishment. The 4in-by- 4ft windows confuse the prisoner as to his specific location within the complex because one can only see the sky and roof. Telecommunication with the outside world is forbidden, and food is hand delivered by correctional officers.
The prison as a whole contains a multitude of motion detectors and cameras, 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors and 12ft (3.7m) high razor wire fences. Laser beams, pressure pads and attack dogs guard the area between the prison walls and the razore wire.