Medium-Security Prison

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People’s ideas on how the criminal justice system works or how prison systems differ come from movies, books, and television shows.

While films and literature can give their audiences information regarding inmates and prison life, these media are not entirely accurate in their depictions.

One area of interest is what life looks like in various institutions. Perhaps, you are curious about the differences between high-security prisons and maximum security facilities

This article details one facility — a medium-security prison, including the rules governing its operations and its security level’s implications. 

Our website,, can help you answer questions related to prison systems and provides a reliable search tool to find jail or prison inmates. We have collected all the crucial information and links to relevant sites to help you with your search.

Read on to know more about medium-security prisons.

Medium-Security Federal Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) identifies facilities with the following features as medium-security institutions:

  • Secure perimeters, typically double-fenced with electronic detection equipment
  • Various work and treatment initiatives
  • Cell-style housing
  • Higher staff-to-inmate ratio than low-security federal correctional institutions (FCIs)
  • More internal regulations than low-security FCIs

Who Goes Into Medium-Security Prison?

The inmate population in medium-security facilities includes individuals who have committed the following offenses:

  • Federal drug offense
  • White-collar crimes, including embezzlement, money laundering, and corporate fraud
  • Sexual offense

What Types of Inmates Are in Medium-Security Prisons?

The information above indicates that medium-security prisons do not house a specific kind of inmate. 

However, medium-security prisons confine individuals with a history of violence. 

What Is Life Like in Medium-Security Prisons?

The quality of life in medium-security prisons varies depending on the institution’s culture.

Some medium-security prisons are relatively safe and easy to navigate, while others are highly violent and dangerous. These experiences may be a non-issue or highly traumatic for inmates.

Moreover, in some medium-security prisons, several inmates live in overcrowded cells. While many inmates at this level stay in two- or three-person cells, some facilities supplement these with four-, six-, ten-, or twelve-bed rooms.

Furthermore, correctional officers typically create inmate housing units by converting dayrooms and TV viewing areas.

Inmate Housing Units

In some cases, prisoners live in smaller cells with steel bunk beds fastened to the wall. These cells typically have a metal toilet and sink combination, a steel desk attached to the wall, small lockers, and fluorescent lighting.

Moreover, televisions, mobile phones, and computers are typically located in the center of the housing unit. Inmates use their radios to tune into a channel to hear TVs bolted into structural beams.

Different inmate groups frequently attempt to claim television control. White, Black, Hispanics, and other groups may presume control of the televisions.

Prisoner Activities

Inmates at this security level have access to educational courses, health services, recreation departments, and religious services.

However, some prison officers enforce a 10-minute move at the medium-security level.

The housing unit complex housing officer will lock the unit doors once the move time limit ends. Inmates should then wear their whole institutional work uniform.

Medium-security inmates can also see their families on certain days. Unlike those in lower-security levels, these inmates undergo strip-search after visiting.

Inmate Culture and Safety Concerns

The inmate culture in medium-security prisons varies greatly. Moreover, these kinds of prisons, as opposed to low-security ones, have a wide range of prison cultures.

For instance, some medium-security prisons have easygoing and relaxed policies. In contrast, other facilities are tough yards where gangs and violence abound.

Violence may be more prevalent in medium-security prisons than in lower-security ones because of the larger inmate populations in the former. 

Still, violent incidents differ widely from one medium-security prison to another.

While some medium-security facilities function like high-security federal prisons, others are significantly less strict.

Consequently, compared to low-security institutions, some medium-security prison cultures may force inmates to join gangs.

In such institutions, it is dangerous for prisoners to stay by themselves. In contrast, safer medium-security prisons allow inmates to choose how they want to behave and interact with others.

There are significant differences between prison cultures in medium-security federal prisons. While some are comparable to high-security prisons, others are significantly less challenging (such as United States Penitentiaries or USPs).

With that said, they are typically more comparable to maximum security prisons than low-security facilities.

Vulnerable Populations at Medium-Security Federal Prisons

Sex offenders, whistleblowers, and LGBT inmates may be “checked in” to protective custody. Otherwise, they might get harmed in harsher facilities.

In most cases, individuals who have committed sex offenses (as well as other community-affecting crimes) find it difficult to integrate back into society.

Several prison staff members also implement a paperwork requirement for more challenging medium-security prisons. Consequently, newcomers must provide court documentation proving they are not sex offenders or informants.

The federal prison system has several medium-security facilities where LGBT inmates, sex offenders, and informants can stay.

For example, the BOP has Sex Offender Management Program (SOTP) facilities at medium-security institutions, including USP Marion and FCI Marianna.

List of Medium Security Federal Prisons by State

Below is a list of operating medium-security prisons in the United States.


FCI Talladega

Address: 565 East Renfroe Road, Talladega, Alabama 35160

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 256-315-4100

Fax: 256-315-4495


  • 1,041 total inmates
  • 936 inmates at the FCI
  • 105 inmates at the camp


Federal Correctional Institution Forrest City Medium

1400 Dale Bumpers Road Forrest City, Arkansas 72335

Phone: 870-494-4200

Fax: 870-494-4496

Email: [email protected]


FCI Phoenix 

37900 North 45th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85086

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 623-465-9757

Fax: 623-465-5199


  • 1,177 total inmates
  • 959 inmates at the FCI and FDC
  • 218 inmates at the camp


FCI Herlong

741-925 Access Road, A-25, Herlong, California 96113

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 530-827-8000

Fax: 530-827-8024


  • 1,504 total inmates
  • 1,422 inmates at the FCI
  • 82 inmates at the camp

FCI Mendota

33500 West California Avenue, Mendota, California 93640

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 559-274-4000

Fax: 559-274-4223


  • 1,527 total inmates
  • 1,430 inmates at the FCI
  • 97 inmates at the camp


Federal Correctional Institution Florence

5880 Highway 67 South Florence, Colorado 81226

Phone: 719-784-9100

Fax: 719-784-9504

Email: [email protected]


FCI Marianna

3625 FCI Road Marianna, Florida 32446

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 850-526-2313

Fax: 850-718-2014


  • 1,179 total inmates
  • 963 inmates at the FCI
  • 216 inmates at the camp


USP Atlanta

601 McDonough Boulevard, Southeast Atlanta, Georgia 30315

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 404-635-5100

Fax: 404-331-2403


  • 901 total inmates

FCI Jesup

2600 Highway 301 South Jesup, Georgia 31599

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 912-427-0870

Fax: 912-427-1125


  • 1,542 total inmates
  • 946 inmates at the FCI
  • 95 inmates at the camp


FCI Greenville

100 U.S. Highway 40 Greenville, Illinois 62246

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 618-664-6200

Fax: 618-664-6372


  • 1,283 total inmates
  • 1,072 inmates at the FCI
  • 211 inmates at the camp


4500 Prison Road, Marion, Illinois 62959

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 618-964-1441

Fax: 618-964-2058


  • 1,351 total inmates
  • 1,183 inmates at the USP
  • 168 inmates at the camp


FCI Terre Haute

4200 Bureau Road North, Terre Haute, Indiana 47808

Phone: 812-238-1531

Fax: 812-238-3301

Email: [email protected]


USP Leavenworth

1300 Metropolitan, Leavenworth, Kansas 66048

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 913-682-8700

Fax: 913-578-1010


  • 1,615 total inmates
  • 1,334 inmates at the USP
  • 281 inmates at the camp


FCI Manchester

805 Fox Hollow Road, Manchester, Kentucky 40962

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 606-598-1900

Fax: 606-599-4115


  • 1,084 total inmates
  • 1,040 inmates at the FCI
  • 44 inmates at the camp


FCI Pollock

1000 Airbase Road Pollock, Louisiana 71467

Phone: 318-765-4400

Fax: 318-765-4476

Email: [email protected]


FCI Cumberland

14601 Burbridge Road, Southeast Cumberland, Maryland 21502

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 301-784-1000

Fax: 301-784-1008


  • 1,281 total inmates
  • 1,118 inmates at the FCI
  • 163 inmates at the camp


FCI Yazoo City Medium

2225 Haley Barbour Parkway, Yazoo City, Mississippi 39194

Phone: 662-716-1020

Fax: 662-716-1036

Email: [email protected]

New Hampshire

FCI Berlin

1 Success Loop Road, Berlin, New Hampshire  03570

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 603-342-4000

Fax: 603-342-4250


  • 838 total inmates
  • 797 inmates at the FCI
  • 41 inmates at the camp

New Jersey

FCI Fairton

655 Fairton-Millville, Road Fairton, New Jersey 08320

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 856-453-1177

Fax: 856-453-4015


  • 886 total inmates
  • 823 inmates at the FCI and FDC
  • 63 inmates at the camp

New York

FCI Otisville

Two Mile Drive, Otisville, New York 10963

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 845-386-6700

Fax: 845-386-6727


  • 410 total inmates
  • 348 inmates at the FCI and FDC
  • 62 inmates at the camp

FCI Ray Brook

128 Ray Brook Road, Ray Brook, New York 12977

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 518-897-4000

Fax: 518-897-4216


  • 915 total inmates

North Carolina

FCI Butner Medium 1

Old Highway 75, Butner, North Carolina 27509

Phone: 919-575-4541

Fax: 919-575-2091

Email: [email protected]

FCI Butner Medium 2

Old Highway 75, Butner, North Carolina 27509

Phone: 919-575-8000

Fax: 919-575-8020

Email: [email protected]


FCI El Reno

4205 Highway 66, West El Reno, Oklahoma 73036

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 405-262-4875

Fax: 405-319-7626


  • 1,274 total inmates
  • 1,068 inmates at the FCI
  • 206 inmates at the camp


FCI Sheridan

27072 Ballston Road, Sheridan, Oregon 97378

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 503-843-4442

Fax: 503-843-6645


  • 1,436 total inmates
  • 1,158 inmates at the FCI and FDC
  • 278 inmates at the camp


USP Lewisburg

2400 Robert F. Miller Drive, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 17837

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 570-523-1251

Fax: 570-522-7745


  • 1,111 total inmates
  • 784 inmates at the USP
  • 327 inmates at the camp

FCI McKean

6975 Route 59, Lewis Run, Pennsylvania 16738

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 814-362-8900

Fax: 814-363-6821


  • 1,078 total inmates
  • 968 inmates at the FCI
  • 110 inmates at the camp

FCI Schuylkill

Interstate 81 and 901 West Minersville, Pennsylvania 17954

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 570-544-7100

Fax: 570-544-7224


  • 1,115 total inmates
  • 1,021 inmates at the FCI
  • 94 inmates at the camp

South Carolina

FCI Bennettsville

696 Muckerman Road, Bennettsville, South Carolina 29512

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 843-454-8200

Fax: 843-454-8219


  • 1,616 total inmates
  • 1,555 inmates at the FCI
  • 61 inmates at the camp

FCI Edgefield

501 Gary Hill Road, Edgefield, South Carolina 29824

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 803-637-1500

Fax: 803-637-9840


  • 1,908 total inmates
  • 1,599 inmates at the FCI
  • 309 inmates at the camp

FCI Estill

100 Prison Road, Estill, South Carolina 29918

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 803-625-4607

Fax: 803-625-5635


  • 70 total inmates

FCI Williamsburg

8301 Highway 521, Salters, South Carolina 29590

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 843-387-9400

Fax: 843-387-6961


  • 1,447 total inmates
  • 1,351 inmates at the FCI
  • 96 inmates at the camp


FCI Memphis

1101 John A Denie Road, Memphis, Tennessee 38134

Email: [email protected]


Fax: 901-384-5462


  • 1,239 total inmates
  • 1,137 inmates at the FCI and FDC
  • 102 inmates at the camp


FCI Three Rivers

U.S. Highway 72, West Three Rivers, Texas 78071

Email: [email protected]


Fax: 361-786-5051


  • 1,244 total inmates
  • 1,039 inmates at the FCI
  • 205 inmates at the camp


FCI Petersburg Medium

1060 River Road Hopewell, VA 23860

Phone: 804-504-7200

Fax: 804-504-7204

Email: [email protected]

West Virginia

FCI Beckley

1600 Industrial Road, Beaver, West Virginia 25813

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 304-252-9758

Fax: 304-256-4956


  • 1,634 total inmates
  • 1,566 inmates at the FCI
  • 68 inmates at the camp

FCI Gilmer

201 FCI Lane, Glenville, West Virginia 26351

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 304-626-2500

Fax: 304-626-2693


  • 1,623 total inmates
  • 1,566 inmates at the FCI
  • 57 inmates at the camp

FCI McDowell

101 Federal Drive, Welch, West Virginia 24801

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 304-436-7300

Fax: 304-436-7318


  • 1,510 total inmates
  • 1,486 inmates at the FCI
  • 24 inmates at the camp


FCI Oxford

County Road G and Elk Avenue, Oxford, Wisconsin 53952

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 608-584-5511

Fax: 608-584-6314


  • 1,105 total inmates
  • 1,043 inmates at the FCI
  • 62 inmates at the camp

What Are the Three Levels of Security in Prisons?

Federal prisons can have low, minimum, and medium-security levels. Each category seeks to meet the needs of each prison inmate.

LowSecurity Federal Correctional Institutions (FCI)

Low-security federal correctional institutions (FCIs) typically have double-fenced walls, dormitory or cubicle units, and work and treatment initiatives. 

In low-security FCIs, the staff-to-inmate ratio is higher than in minimum security facilities.

Minimum Security Federal Prison Camps or Satellite Camps (FPC and SCP)

These minimum security facilities have the lowest security level. Moreover, minimum security camps and prisons typically house offenders with no criminal records of violence or sex offense. 

Consequently, the facilities’ inmates have low risks of escaping. 

Additionally, minimum security prisons have little to no surrounding fences, and inmates stay in dormitories. 

FPCs typically provide work programs and classes to assist prisoners in their rehabilitation.

Medium-Security Federal Correctional Institutions

Medium-security federal correctional Institutions (FCIs) usually house more violent inmates.

Medium-security FCIs have strengthened perimeters, such as double fences with electronic detection devices. These centers primarily have cell-style housing and various work and treatment programs.

FCIs also have a higher staff-to-inmate ratio and more internal restrictions than low-security FCIs.

Factors That Determine an Institution’s Security Level

Correctional institutions, including federal prisons, may have different security levels depending on the type of inmate, nature of the offense, and prison capacity.

Factors That Determine Federal Prison Security Level

The BOP prison system classifies federal prisons depending on their levels of security. Factors impacting the categorization of prison systems include:

  • The presence of watch towers, external patrols, security barriers, or detection equipment
  • Housing type within the institution
  • Internal security features
  • The staff-to-inmate ratio

Types of Correction Facilities

The sections below discuss different types of correctional facilities in the United States.

Federal vs. State  

Federal Prison

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), an agency under the Department of Justice, operates and manages federal prisons.

Federal prisons confine inmates guilty of perpetrating federal crimes. Generally, a criminal offense is federal when it violates federal laws and codes in the United States.

Federal courts consider criminal behavior as federal crimes, such as drug trafficking, child pornography, embezzlement, or unlawful possession of firearms.

State Prison

State prisons confine inmates who commit state crimes such as murder, arson, assault, or robbery.

Each state has policies governing the prison system, and their differences can be substantial.

States vary in their stance regarding capital punishment, the number of individuals released on probation, and the racial makeup of their facilities.

Private Correctional Institutions

A private or corporate correctional institution is a for-profit correctional facility. 

Government institutions sometimes require greater prison capacity than the government can give. 

Consequently, the state, local, and federal governments can contract with private, for-profit corporations to operate prisons.

According to the Sentencing Project, an advocacy organization, corporate-run institutions in the United States confined 100,151 individuals in 2020. This number accounted for 8% of the total federal and state prison population.

Jail vs. Prison

The primary distinction between jail and prison depends on the time inmates must spend on their complete court-issued sentences.


Federal and state laws and policies govern the institution and management of prisons and the prisoners’ rights.

State or federal agencies operate prison facilities that house felons serving more than a year. 


On the other hand, local law enforcement and government committees administer jails. Local jails confine inmates serving short-term sentences, usually one year or less, and detainees awaiting court trial. 

The criminal justice system aims for any incarceration to be an unpleasant experience. However, inmates’ rights, policies, and daily lives can differ significantly between a  jail and a federal prison.

Other Types of Prisons

Below are different types of prisons in the United States.


A juvenile prison confines individuals under the age of 18. No person under the age of legal consent stays in a general prison with adults. Instead, juvenile offenders spend time in a facility strictly for young people.

United States Penitentiaries (USP)

United States Penitentiaries (USPs), also known as high-security prisons, have reinforced walls, the highest staff-to-inmate ratio, and control of inmates’ movement.


Psychiatric prisons with hospital-like designs hold criminals deemed mentally unfit. The patients or offenders undergo psychiatric treatment for their mental illnesses in these facilities.

Like any institution that focuses on rehabilitation, psychiatric prisons want to do more than keep inmates locked up as a form of punishment.


Every military division has prisons that exclusively confine prisoners of war or military members who have breached laws that harm national security.


Administrative prisons consist of numerous establishments that the BOP specifically built to hold prisoners who need specialized care.

Administrative inmates are exceedingly dangerous, with significant medical issues or both.

The administrative institution governs the sole “supermax” jail in the United States – the administrative maximum security prison (ADX).


  1. What is the difference between minimum and mediumsecurity prisons?

The minimum and medium-security prisons broadly differ in inmate population and category. Consequently, these facilities vary in staff-to-inmate ratio and security protocols.

  1. What are the criteria for becoming a federal inmate at the administrative level?

Inmates at the administrative level typically have:

  • Chronic or severe medical condition
  • Records of escaping prison
  • Records of being a danger to others
  1. What is a prison?

A prison is a correctional facility run by a federal or state jurisdiction. The primary goal of prison is to confine people convicted of a felony or a serious crime.

  1. What is Jail?

Inmates held for a brief period stay in jails. Jails are specific places that fall under a local authority (like a county) where detainees can wait for a trial or receive a formal charge for a minor crime.

Felons and misdemeanors are the two main categories describing criminal behavior. A misdemeanor is a less severe crime than a felony. Usually, this offense receives a sentence of less than a year in jail.

Juveniles occasionally stay in jails before or after adjudication (a ruling by a judge).

Examples of jail facilities include:

  • Special jail facilities, such as release centers or medical care
  • Halfway houses
  • Temporary detention centers
  • City and county corrections centers

Typically, prisons provide boot camps and work release programs. Additionally, some facilities offer programs for education, drug abuse, and employment.

Those jail programs partly depend on the correctional staff’s expertise in assisting inmates in improving their lives and avoiding re-arrest.

Inmates can gain from correctional programs by staying occupied and not causing trouble to the jail staff.

According to the 2020 survey of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a 25% decrease in the jail inmate population from midyear 2019 (734,500) to midyear 2020 (549,100) happened in the United States.

Incarcerated individuals have fewer rights than typical citizens because of their legal status. However, inmates still have limited rights to property ownership, free expression, and various human liberties.

If you, a family member, or a friend faces incarceration, you should consult with a lawyer. 

A lawyer can help you prevent jail or prison sentences entirely. These professionals can lower the amount of your jail or prison time if a conviction is inevitable.


1. About Our Facilities
2. Breaking Down the Different Types of Prisons in America
3. U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Annual National Seminar on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
4. FCI Talladega
5. FCI Phoenix
6. FCI Herlong
7. FCI Mendota
8. FCI Marianna
9. USP Atlanta
10. FCI Jesup
11. FCI Greenville
12. USP Marion
13. USP Leavenworth
14. FCI Manchester
15. FCI Cumberland
16. FCI Berlin
17. FCI Fairton
18. FCI Otisville
19. FCI Ray Brook
20. FCI El Reno
21. FCI Sheridan
22. USP Lewisberg
23. FCI McKean
24. FCI Schuykill
25. FCI Bennetsville
26. FCI Edgefield
27. FCI Estill
28. FCI Williamsburg
29. FCI Memphis
30. FCI Three Rivers
31. FCI Beckley
32. FCI Gilmer
33. FCI MCDowell
34. FCI Oxford
35. Terms & Definitions: State And Federal Prison Facility Characteristics
36. When Is a Crime Considered Federal?
37. When Is a Crime Considered Federal?
38. Private Prisons in the United States
39. Prisoners’ rights
40. Correctional Facilities

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