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United States Penitentiary, Victorville

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Title: United States Penitentiary, Victorville  
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Subject: Victorville, California, John Walker Lindh, Palmyra Atoll, National Institute of Corrections, Federal Correctional Institution, Milan
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United States Penitentiary, Victorville

United States Penitentiary, Victorville
Location Adelanto, California
Status Operational
Security class High-security
Population 1,400
Opened 2004
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons
Warden Francisco J. Quintana

The United States Penitentiary, Victorville (USP Victorville) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates in California. It is part of the Victorville Federal Correctional Complex (FCC Victorville) and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

FCC Victorville is located on land that was formerly part of [1]


USP Victorville opened on October 21, 2004 as a high-security prison which cost $101.4 million. It was constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Irvine, California and the Crosby Group Design Firm of Redwood City, California. The security systems were designed by Buford Goff and Associates of Columbia, South Carolina.


USP Victorville is 630,000 square-feet (58,500 m²) and is designed to house 960 male inmates in 6 housing units. Six V-shaped buildings (units 1-3 on east side, units 4-6 on west side) facing each other and a larger maintenance building surround a central yard with a tower in the middle. Six additional towers are lined along the rectangular shaped facility. The facility is surrounded by a lethal electrical double fence, a 2 m (8 ft) brickstone wall on its northern side and a view protection fence on its western side. Cells are approximately 4 × 2 m (13 × 7 feet) in size equipped with a bunkbed, a stainless steel sink-toilet combination and a small table with a non-removable stool. Cells are usually occupied by two inmates and are air conditioned. The administrative and disciplinary unit (SHU) can hold 238 inmates. Cells in the disciplinary unit have showers and are occupied by three inmates when overcrowding occurs (one inmate is forced to sleep on the floor in such cases).[2]

Inmate life

Prisoners have access to the text-based e-mail program known as TRULINCS (Trust Fund Limited Inmate Communication System). Prisoners are only allowed 13,000 characters per e-mail, and attachments cannot be sent, received, or viewed. Inmates are not allowed to retain more than two newspapers, 10 magazines and 25 letters in their cells. Inmates are allowed to place phone calls to up to 30 approved numbers. Phone calls are restricted to 15 minutes per call and five hours per month. Inmates pay for their phone calls through their trust accounts. Inmates can buy additional food, hygiene articles and clothes from commissary for a maximum of $290 a month.[3]

Inmates are counted 5 to 6 times a day at 12:01 a.m., 3:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. (stand up count), 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. (on weekends and holidays). Initial work movements start at 4:30 a.m. and inmates must be up at 7:30 a.m. All inmates must be back to their cells at 10:00 p.m.[4]

Notable incidents

On April 11, 2005, USP Victorville inmate Scott Fischer,(using several alias' including Peter Steven Scopazzi, the name on his prison death certificate) was fatally slashed by another inmate, reportedly over a dispute regarding less than $10.00 worth of tobacco.

USP Victorville inmate Tony Richard Padilla, 44, died at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on August 12, 2006 from injuries suffered during a fight with another inmate, the San Bernardino County Coroner announced.[5]

On the afternoon of May 13, 2009, several inmates at USP Victorville attacked inmate Gregory Francis Ritter, 30, of Waikiki, Hawaii, who was serving a 33-month sentence for drug and weapons possession, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Ritter was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and later flown to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in critical condition. Ritter died of his injuries at 7:13 PM.[6][7]

On 1 October 2013, inmate Javier Sanders was found beaten to death in his cell. Sanders was serving a 10 year sentence for federal drug crimes. David Snow, 53, the former president of the Aryan Brotherhood of Ohio, was found beaten to death on 13 November 2013. In 2005, Snow was convicted for possession of a firearm and 50 tablets of oxycodone and sentenced to 180 months confinement. [8] The next day, David Serra, 40, was found dead in what was determined to be a suicide. Serra had only been at the prison for five months, and was serving a 30 year sentence for second-degree murder and deadly use of a firearm. [9] On Saturday, 21 June 2014, two inmates were found dead in the prison. [10] They were later identified as Brian Kountz, 24, and Robert Howard Ferguson, 49. In 2013, Kountz was sentenced in Wyoming to 80 months in prison for an armed robbery. Ferguson was sentenced the same year in Las Vegas, NV to 80 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. [11]

Serious incidents of violence at federal prisons are investigated by the FBI.

Notable inmates (current and former)

†The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 eliminated parole for federal inmates. However, inmates sentenced for offenses committed prior to 1987 are eligible for parole consideration.[12]

High-profile inmates

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Gerardo Hernandez 58739-004 Serving a life sentence. Leader of the Cuban Five spy network; convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit murder and espionage for sending classified information to Cuban intelligence officials, who used it to shoot down a plane flown by four members of the anti-Castro group Brothers to the Rescue.[13]
Javier Vasquez-Velasco 91039-012 Serving a life sentence; eligible for parole in 2049.† Former bodyguard for Mexican drug lord Juan Matta-Ballesteros; convicted in 1990 of murder in aid of racketeering for killing two tourists he mistook for DEA agents; suspected of involvement in the 1985 kidnapping and murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena.[14]
Marcos Rodriguez-Perez 08185-298 Serving a 58-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2061. Pleaded guilty in November 2009 to murdering a federal official in connection with the robbery and fatal shooting of US Customs and Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr. on July 23, 2009; two other perpetrators are awaiting sentencing.[15][16][17]

Gang leaders

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Alphonso Foster 46800-112 Serving a life sentence. Leader of the Crips street gang in Los Angeles; convicted in 2010 of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics for running a large PCP ring which produced and sold hundreds of gallons of PCP.[18][19]
Augustin Zambrano 11983-424 Serving a 60-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2062. Leader or "Corona" of the Chicago racketeering conspiracy for running a drug-trafficking enterprise which engaged in murder, attempted murder, assault, and extortion.[20][21]
George Flores 56029-112 Serving a 30-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2038. Leader of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens street gang in California; arrested in 2009 during Operation Knockout, the largest gang sweep in US history; pleaded guilty in 2010 to directing gang crimes including drug trafficking, kidnappings, carjackings and murders.[22][23][24]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Edgar Steele 14226-023 Serving a 50-year sentence; died in prison on September 4, 2014. Idaho attorney who defended the Aryan Nations in a 2000 lawsuit filed by two hate crime victims; convicted of attempted murder for hire in 2011 for paying an individual $10,000 to kill his wife and mother-in-law with a pipe bomb.[25][26][27]
Abdi Umar

Ahmed Salad



Serving life sentences. Somalis convicted of piracy; Umar for the 2010 attack on the American warship USS Nicholas; Salad for the 2011 hijacking of the civilian yacht Quest; the convictions marked the first time in 190 years that an American jury has convicted defendants of piracy.[28][29][30]
Richard Morrison 31683-048 Released from custody in 2006 after serving 9 years. Pleaded guilty in 1997 to setting fire to a church in Nevada due to its mostly black congregation; Morrison was the first person to be prosecuted under the federal Church Arson Protection Act of 1996; assaulted fellow inmate John Walker Lindh in 2003.[31]

See also


  1. ^ "USP Victorville". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  2. ^ "FCC Victorville: Inmate Handbook". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  3. ^ "FCC Victorville: Inmate Handbook". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  4. ^ "FCC Victorville: Inmate Handbook". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  5. ^ Prophet, Tatiana (August 15, 2006). "FBI Investigates death at Victorville". Victorville Daily Press. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Federal inmate dies following attack | attack, dies, federal - Local News - Victorville Daily Press". 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Hawaii inmate killed in California prison". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  8. ^ "Ohio Aryan Brotherhood leader is killed in Victorville prison". Los Angeles Times. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  9. ^ "Victorville federal prisoner commits suicide". San Bernardino County Sun. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  10. ^ "Two inmates apparently slain at federal prison in Victorville". San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  11. ^ "Inmates killed at Victorville prison identified". San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-06-24. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  12. ^ "History of The Federal Parole System". US Department of Justice. 
  13. ^ " - Cuban spy ring leader sentenced to life - December 13, 2001". 2001-12-13. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  14. ^ "Bodyguard Is Convicted in Case With Links to Drug Agent's Death - New York Times". 1990-08-07. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  15. ^ "DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR MURDER OF BORDER PATROL AGENT". US Department of Justice. April 29, 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Page, Eric (November 21, 2009). "Teen Admits Killing Border Agent". NBC 7 San Diego. 
  17. ^ "Mexican Gunman To Spend 58 Years Behind Bars For 2009 Killing Of Border Patrol Agent". Fox News Latino. November 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (2006-10-27). "13 L.A. street gang members indicted in sale of PCP - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  19. ^ "FBI — Second South Los Angeles Gang Leader Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Federal Prison for Distributing PCP". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  20. ^ "Latin Kings leader gets 60 years - Chicago Sun-Times". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  22. ^ Winton, Richard (2011-01-11). "Hawaiian Gardens gang leader gets 30 years - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  23. ^ " / Los Angeles News Releases, 01/09/11". 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  24. ^ ; (2011-01-10). "Hawaiian Gardens gang leader gets 30 years |". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  25. ^ "Leaders of Aryan Nations Found Negligent in Attack - New York Times". 2000-09-08. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  26. ^ "Edgar Steele Guilty In Murder-For-Hire Plot | News". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  27. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (2011-11-10). "Edgar J. Steele, Lawyer Who Represented Aryan Nation Sentenced To 50 Years For Plot To Murder Wife". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  28. ^ "Five Somalis sentenced to life in piracy case -". 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  29. ^ "USDOJ: US Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Virginia". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  30. ^ Associated Press (November 12, 2013). "Somali pirate sentenced to 21 life sentences for shooting deaths of four Americans". New York Daily News. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Search | Las Vegas Review-Journal". Retrieved 2013-10-05. 

External links

  • USP Victorville at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Official site)
  • "FCC Victorville", United States Bureau of Prisons website

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