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Stanford Reportedly Designated to USP Coleman II

The Bureau of Prisons has reportedlyplaced Allen Stanford at the United States Penitentiary Coleman II, FL to serve his 110-year sentence. If accurate*, this story is notable because it means that the BOP has elected to house a 62-year-old nonviolent “white-collar” offender at a high-security institution. According to the BOP:

At the high security level, more than 70 percent of the inmates are drug offenders, weapons offenders, or robbers, another 10 percent have been convicted of murder, aggravated assault, or kidnapping, and half of the inmates in this population have sentences in excess of 10 years. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of high security inmates have been sanctioned for violating prison rules, and more than 90 percent have a history of violence.
USP designation of an inmate with more than 30 years remaining to serve is technically correct based on application of the Sentence Length Public Safety Factor (PSF). See BOP Program Statement 5100.08, Ch. 5, p. 9. However, it appears that in other similar cases the Bureau offset the impact of the Sentence Length PSF through application of a Lesser Security management variable, which is intended for “circumstances where an inmate represents a lesser security risk […] than the assigned security level.” Id. Ch. 5, p. 5. For instance, Bernie Madoff, who, like Stanford, qualifies for USP placement as a result of his 150-year sentence, is housed at FCI Butner-Medium, NC. Likewise, Enron defendant Jeff Skilling was originally designated to FCI Waseca-Low, MN (then a men’s institution) despite having more than 20 years remaining to serve when he surrendered to federal custody, a fact that should have triggered placement at a medium-security institution.
Sound correctional management supports placing such nonviolent offenders at institutions of a security level lower than that for which they might technically qualify because it lessens the potential risk of harm, which, among other things, is an important liability consideration for the BOP. And, to be clear, placement at a medium-security institution is no walk in the park. Again using Madoff’s designation to Butner as an example, the BOP provides:
It is important to note that at the medium security level, about 67 percent of the inmates are drug offenders or weapons offenders, approximately 75 percent have a history of violence, 40 percent have been sanctioned for violating prison rules, and half of the inmates in this population have sentences in excess of 8 years.
That is what makes the news of Stanford’s designation to a USP unusual, particularly where he was assaulted in jail while awaiting trial. Perhaps the media has it wrong. There is a medium-security institution at the Coleman Correctional Complex.

*The BOP’s Inmate Locator does not list Stanford as in custody.

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  • Thank you for this post. This is a little known aspect of the the Federal Prison syatem. There are tens of thousands of non-violent offenders placed in USPs which are high security facilities.

    You mentioned that drug offenders are there, but the implication that they are all violent is not the case. Since the late 80s we have extraordinarly long sentences for non-violent drug offenders. These inmates are placed in high security facilities, even though they have no history of violence and they are often senior citizens.

    Make no mistake, these facilities house inmates who are sentenced for violent crimes, but housing non-violent criminals in high security facilities justifies a larger budget for the bureau of prisons and gives the impression to the public that there are many more dangerous criminals than facts would show.

    I’m a bit calloused about the topic as I have the web site Life for Pot. This facility designation for non-violent offenders of any type is not fiscally responsible, nor is it conpatible with civil liberties. Thanks so much.

  • Anonymous

    .thanks for sharing