Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn

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Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn
Location 80 29th St
Brooklyn, New York, 11232
Status Operational
Security class Administrative facility (all security levels)
Population 980
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn (MDC Brooklyn) is a United States federal administrative detention facility in Brooklyn, New York City which holds male and female prisoners of all security levels. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

Most prisoners held at MDC Brooklyn have pending cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. MDC Brooklyn also holds prisoners serving brief sentences.[1]


MDC Brooklyn opened in the early 1990s over opposition from neighbors and local elected officials.[2] Critics feared that the facility, with its staff, inmates, visitors, and supply deliveries, would overburden neighborhood traffic and water and sewer systems.[3]

It was built to hold prisoners 1,000 inmates awaiting arraignment or trial at the federal court in the Eastern District of New York.[2]

In 1999, a second facility was opened adjacent to the original complex to house inmates who have already been sentenced and are awaiting transfer to a permanent facility. This brought the total number of inmates to close to 3,000 and made MDC Brooklyn the largest detention center in the United States.

Notable incidents[edit]

Ronell Wilson[edit]

On February 5, 2013, New York media outlets reported that Nancy Gonzalez, a former federal correction officer, had engaged in a sexual relationship with Ronell Wilson, an inmate at MDC Brooklyn, and that Gonzalez was carrying Wilson's child. Wilson, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2007 for the 2003 murders of NYPD Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin, was awaiting a resentencing hearing in Brooklyn federal court after his original death sentence was overturned in 2010, when he began a relationship with Gonzalez. Gonzalez was terminated and arraigned in federal court on charges of sexual abuse of a person in custody, because an inmate cannot legally consent to sex.[4][5] Wilson was subsequently transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual abuse of a ward on July 3, 2013 and faces up to 16 months in prison at her sentencing, currently scheduled for October 7, 2013.[6]

Wilson was sentenced to death again on September 10, 2013. During the hearing, US District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis called for a formal investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into the management of MDC Brooklyn, where, he said, Mr. Wilson was “permitted to treat the MDC as his own private fiefdom.”[7]

Inmate assault[edit]

On June 29, 2009, Ronald Atkinson, an inmate at MDC Brooklyn who had been arrested in connection with six bank robberies twelve days earlier, committed an unprovoked assault on a correctional counselor, punching him in the head multiple times until he was restrained by correctional officers. As a result of the assault, the counselor, whom the Bureau of Prisons did not identify, suffered serious injuries, including a broken nose, broken facial bones, a fractured eye socket, a laceration requiring stitches and two slipped discs in his neck. An 18-year veteran of the Bureau of Prisons, the counselor was forced to take a medical retirement as a result of his injuries.[8]

Atkinson was subsequently sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for the bank robberies. On July 19, 2013, he was sentenced to an additional 12 years in prison in connection with the assault. Atkinson is scheduled for release in 2031.[9]

Notable Inmates (current and former)[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Al Sharpton 21458-069 Served 90 days at MDC Brooklyn in 2001. Baptist minister, political activist and current MSNBC television host; convicted of trespassing on federal property for protesting against the US military presence on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.[10]
Vincent Asaro 83223-053 Currently awaiting trial. Caporegime in the Bonanno crime family; indicted in 2014 for murder, racketeering, armed robbery, and extortion in connection with crimes including the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK Airport, in which $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewels were stolen.[11]
Megan Rice 88101-020 Serving a 35-month sentence; scheduled for release in November 2015. Anti-nuclear activist and Roman Catholic nun; convicted in 2013 of sabotage for unlawfully entering the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalizing a facility housing weapons-grade uranium.[12][13]
Abid Naseer 05770-748 Currently awaiting trial. Alleged Al-Qaeda operative; extradited from the United Kingdom in 2012 to face charges that he took part in an international conspiracy to conduct bombings in the United States and Europe; three co-conspirators were convicted in 2010 and 2012.[14]
Jimmy Cournoyer 07722-379 Transferred to FCI Berlin, scheduled for release in 2034. Leader of a massive international drug trafficking enterprise with ties to the Mafia, the Hells Angels and the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico; pleaded guilty in 2013 to operating a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy and money laundering.[15]
Juan Elias Garcia 83399-053 Currently awaiting trial. Member of the international gang MS-13 and former FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitive; indicted for the 2010 killings of his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Argueta, and her 2-year-old son, Diego Torres; surrendered at the US Embassy in Nicaragua in 2014.[16][17]
Ross William Ulbricht 18870-111 Currently awaiting sentencing. Alleged founder of the dark web online marketplace Silk Road; indicted in 2013 on charges of money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic narcotics and attempted murder; known by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MDC Brooklyn". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  2. ^ a b Prial, Frank J. (February 6, 1991). "Jail Is Planned For Brooklyn, And Foes Rise". The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ Lambert, Bruce (December 19, 1993). "Lambert, Bruce, "U.S. to Open Jail, Despite Snags"". The New York Times. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ Secret, Mosi (February 5, 2013). "Impregnated by Prisoner, Guard Now Faces Charges". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Marzulli, John (February 5, 2013). "Convicted cop killer Ronell Wilson impregnanted female guard in twisted plan to avoid death penalty". New York Daily News. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Hays, Tom (July 3, 2013). "Nancy Gonzalez, New York Jail Guard, Admits To Affair With Convicted Cop Killer Ronell Wilson". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Secret, Mosi (September 10, 2013). "For the Second Time, a Killer of Two Detectives Is Sentenced to Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Defendant Sentenced to 151 Months’ Imprisonment for Assaulting Correctional Counselor at the Metropolitan Correctional Center". Federal Bureau of Investigation. July 19, 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Inmate Locator - Ronald Atkinson". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Feuer, Alan (June 12, 2001). "Sleeker by 14 Pounds, Sharpton Fights On". Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Three Individuals Convicted of Sabotage at the Y-12 National Security Complex Sentenced". Federal Bureau of Investigation. February 19, 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Reuters (February 18, 2014). "Tennessee: Nun Is Sentenced for Peace Protest". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Secret, Mosi (January 3, 2013). "Pakistani in Terror Case Is Extradited to New York". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Canadian Drug Kingpin with Ties to the Rizutto and Bonanno Crime Families, the Hells Angels and the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel Pleads Guilty to Narcotics Trafficking Crimes Carrying Sentence of 20 Years to Life and $1 Billion in Forfeiture". Drug Enforcement Administration. May 29, 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Segal, David (18 January 2014). "Eagle Scout. Idealist. Drug Trafficker?". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°39′37″N 74°00′16″W / 40.66028°N 74.00444°W / 40.66028; -74.00444