United States Penitentiary, Allenwood

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United States Penitentiary, Allenwood
USP Allenwood.jpg
Location Gregg Township, Union County, near Allenwood, Pennsylvania
Status Operational
Security class High-security
Population 1,000
Opened 1993
Managed by Legal & Correctional Holdings, plc.

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

FCC Allenwood is located approximately 75 miles (121 km) north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital.[1]


USP Allenwood has four housing units of two levels with 16 cells per floor around a central dayroom where inmates can congregate during the times they are allowed outside their cells. Recreational and counseling facilities are located adjacent to the housing units. The outer perimeter is secured by a double line of fencing with rolled barbed wire on the ground in between the fences. The inner fence is equipped with a perimeter intrusion detection system and a road for patrol vehicles runs along the outer fence. Correction officers man six guard towers at each corner of the security fence.[2][3]


Education includes GED, ESL, adult continuing education, vocational training, correspondence classes, and evening college classes. Inmates work in a UNICOR upholstery factory and institutional maintenance jobs such as food service and building repair. Medical, psychological and drug treatment services are also available.[4]

Notable incidents[edit]

In April 1996, USP Allenwood inmate David Paul Hammer strangled fellow inmate Andrew Hunt Marti to death with a piece of homemade cord. Hammer and Marti were cellmates in the Special Housing Unit, where especially violent inmates are held. Writing on a website dedicated to his case in 2001, Hammer could not ‘attribute any motive’ to his actions. Hammer, a career criminal who was serving a 1,200-year sentence for crimes including larceny, shooting with intent to kill, kidnapping and making bomb threats, subsequently pleaded guilty to Marti's murder and was sentenced to death. Hammer is currently being held at the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, a high-security federal prison which houses federal death row inmates.[5][6]

On September 28, 2005, USP Allenwood inmates Ritz Williams and Shawn Cooya stabbed a fellow inmate, 50-year-old Alvin Allery, ten times with a homemade knife and repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso, causing Allery's death. Williams and Cooya were already serving lengthy sentences, Williams for murder and Cooya for weapons violations. A subsequent investigation revealed that Williams and Cooya planned the attack in advance. In 2013, Williams and Cooya pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison.[7][8]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Aldrich Ames 40087-083 Serving a life sentence. Former CIA counterintelligence officer; pleaded guilty in 1994 to espionage for passing classified information to the Soviet Union and later to Russia over a 9-year period; compromised more American spies than anyone in US history prior to Robert Hanssen.[9]

Organized crime[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Louis Daidone 39065-053 Serving a life sentence. Former Acting Boss of the Lucchese Crime Family in New York City; convicted in 2004 of murder, murder conspiracy, racketeering, and loansharking.[10]
Thomas Pitera 29465-053 Serving a life sentence. Former hitman for the Bonanno Crime Family in New York City; convicted in 1992 of murder and murder conspiracy for torturing and murdering six people, as well as racketeering for operating a large drug trafficking operation.[11]
Johnny Joe Guerra 82349-279 Serving a life sentence. Leader of the Raza Unida gang, which operates inside the Texas prison system; pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.[12][13]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Masoud Khan 46810-083 Serving a life sentence. Leader of the Virginia jihad network; convicted in 2004 of seditious conspiracy and other charges for attending a terrorist training camp run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and purchasing weapons in preparation to undertake violent jihad; several co-conspirators were also sentenced to prison.[14][15]
Laguerre Payen 85165-054 Serving a 25-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2031. Convicted in 2010 of the attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and attempted murder for plotting to bomb synagogues and shoot down planes at Stewart International Airport in New York; three co-conspirators are also serving 25-year sentences.[16][17][18]

Other crimes[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Mohamud Salad Ali 77992-083 Serving a life sentence. Somali pirate; pleaded guilty in 2011 to piracy in connection with the 2010 hijacking of the civilian yacht Quest, during which four US citizens were killed; Nine other pirates are serving life sentences at other federal facilities.[19][20]
Jorge A. Martinez 39798-060 Serving a life sentence. Physician; convicted in 2006 of submitting $60 million in claims for unnecessary procedures in the first prosecution in US history involving a charge of health care fraud resulting in death; the story was featured on the CNBC television program American Greed.[21][22]
John Knock 11150-017 Serving a life sentence. Convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy in 2000 for attempting to orchestrate the importation of thousands of tons of marijuana into the US from Pakistan and Lebanon; received the longest sentence for a nonviolent marijuana crime in US history.
Christopher Tappin 90763-280 Served 5 months of a 33-month sentence; released in 2013 to complete his sentence in the UK. British businessman; pleaded guilty in 2012 to knowingly aiding and abetting others in an attempt to export a component of the Hawk Air Defense Missile to Iran in violation of international sanctions.[23][24]
Terrance Karl Alden 02595-135 Serving 125 years plus a life sentence in New Jersey Convicted of murder during the course of an armed robbery in New Jersey in 1973 and received a life sentence. Escaped from Trenton State Prison during Hurricane Belle on 9 August 1976 and later convicted of five bank robberies in the Saint Louis, MO area. He was featured in the book "Hot House" by Pete Earley under the pseudonym "Norman Bucklew." [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "USP Allenwood". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  2. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. p. 375. ISBN 9780761923046. 
  3. ^ Spens, Iona (1994). The Architecture of Incarceration. London: Academy Editions. p. 128. ISBN 9781854903587. 
  4. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. p. 375. ISBN 9780761923046. 
  5. ^ "DAVID PAUL HAMMER, PETITIONER V. JOHN D. ASHCROFT, ET AL.". US Department of Justice. 
  6. ^ "DAVID PAUL HAMMER 24507-077". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Walker, R.A. (February 15, 2008). "Two indicted for 2005 killing at Allenwood prison complex". Williamsport Sun-Gazette (PA). Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pennsylvania Inmate Sentenced To Life In Prison For Violent Murder Of Fellow Inmate". US Department of Justice. May 15, 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Johnston, David (April 29, 1994). "Spy Voices Shame and Defiance Before Receiving a Life Sentence". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Preston, Julia (July 1, 2004). "Metro Briefing | New York: Manhattan: Mob Chief Sentenced". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Lubasch, Anthony (July 2, 1992). "Federal Jurors Considering Death Penalty for Mobster". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Foley, Sara (August 18, 2011). "Gang leader sentenced to life in prison; three detained in courthouse outburst". caller.com (Corpus Christi Caller-Times). Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Raza Unida Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for Racketeering". US Department of Justice. August 18, 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "'Paintball Terrorists' Convicted of Conspiracy". FoxNews.com. March 4, 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (June 15, 2004). "http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-06-15-virginia-jihad-sentence_x.htm". USA Today. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  17. ^ Fahim, Kareem (October 18, 2010). "4 Convicted of Attempting to Blow Up 2 Synagogues". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (June 29, 2011). "3 Men Draw 25-Year Terms In Synagogue Bomb Plot". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Nasaw, Daniel (October 3, 2011). "Somali pirates face hard time in US prison". BBC News. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Two More Somalis Plead Guilty To Charges Relating To Piracy Of Quest". US Department of Justice. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "Financial Crimes Report to the Public - Fiscal Year 2006". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "American Greed: Medical Scams: Dr. Martinez". CNBC. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "British Businessman Christopher Tappin Sentenced To Federal Prison For Aiding And Abetting The Illegal Export Of Defense Articles". US Department of Justice. January 9, 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "U.K.'s Chris Tappin, In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb". Forbes. November 2, 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Camisa, Harry (2009). Inside Out. Adelphia, NJ: Windsor Press and Publishing. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°07′52″N 76°55′37″W / 41.131°N 76.927°W / 41.131; -76.927