United States Penitentiary, Canaan

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United States Penitentiary, Canaan
USP Canaan.jpg
Location Canaan Township, Wayne County,
near Waymart, Pennsylvania
Status Operational
Security class High-security (with minimum-security prison camp)
Population 1,400 (160 in prison camp)
Opened 2005
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons
Director Warden David Ebbert

The United States Penitentiary, Canaan (USP Canaan) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates, with a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male inmates. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

USP Canaan is located in northeastern Pennsylvania, 20 miles east of Scranton, and 134 miles north of Philadelphia.[1]

History and facility[edit]

USP Canaan is a 170,000-square-yard (140,000 m2) facility designed by David R. Cassara Associates, Structural Engineering and Consulting of Rochester, New York for $141 million.[2] USP Canaan opened in March 2005 and is designed to house 1088 male inmates in six housing units. Six V-shaped buildings 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. 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, called the Special Housing Unit, can hold approximately 250 inmates. Cells in the disciplinary unit have showers and are occupied by two inmates.

Prison schedule and regulations[edit]

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 inside their cells at 10:00 p.m.[3]

Prisoners have access to a text-based e-mail program known as Trust Fund Limited Inmate Communication System (TRULINCS).[4] 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.

Notable incidents[edit]

There have been three inmate murders at USP Canaan since its opening. On April 25, 2010, Allen Hurley, an inmate serving a 37-year sentence for multiple armed robberies, became involved in a physical altercation with Joseph O'Kane while they were both in Hurley's cell. Hurley pulled out a homemade prison knife known as a shank, and stabbed O'Kane 92 times. O'Kane, an associate of the Gambino Crime Family in New York City who was serving life sentence for racketeering and murder, died at the scene. Hurley was convicted of manslaughter on June 21, 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison in September 2012.[5][6][7]

On August 23, 2010, inmate Jose Antonio Perez, the leader of a major drug trafficking ring in Hartford, Connecticut, died of a single stab wound to the neck. Perez was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking and murder for hire in connection with the 2002 shooting death of Theodore Casiano, the leader of a rival drug trafficking organization.[8][9] Perez's murder remains under investigation.

On January 11, 2013, inmate Ephraim Goitom was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour after a fight. Goitom had been serving a 25-year sentence for shooting a police officer during a raid on Goitom's home.

In June 2011, 300 inmates and several staff members became ill after eating chicken in the prison dining room. The Pennsylvania State Department of Health was called in to investigate and determined that the cause was salmonella poisoning. The incident constituted one of the largest institutional outbreaks of salmonella poisoning in US history. No one became critically ill.[10]

On the evening of February 25, 2013, an inmate of the prison attacked and murdered Correction Officer Eric Williams, 34, of Nanticoke, PA.[11] The suspected inmate has been identified as Jessie Con-ui, who is serving an 11-year term for gang-related drug trafficking.[12]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]

Inmate name Register number Status Details
Matta-Ballesteros, JuanJuan Matta-Ballesteros 37671-133 Serving a life sentence under the name Juan Ramon Matta-Lopez. Drug kingpin with ties to the Medellin Cartel in Colombia; convicted in 1990 of orchestrating the 1985 kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena.[13][14]
Abdul Kadir 64656-053 Serving a life sentence. Al-Qaeda supporter; convicted of terrorism conspiracy for his role in a foiled plot to bomb John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York in 2007; three co-conspirators are serving sentences at other federal facilities.[15][16]
Chhun Yasith 31900-112 Serving a life sentence. US citizen and President of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters; convicted in 2008 of leading a series of deadly attacks against civilian and government targets in an attempt to oust Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2000.[17][18]
James Kopp 11761-055 Serving a life sentence. Associate of the anti-abortion group The Lambs of Christ; convicted in 2007 of the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, who performed abortions at a clinic in Buffalo, New York; Kopp was one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives prior to his capture in 2001.[19]
Mohammad Shibin 78207-083 Serving a life sentence. Somali pirate; convicted in 2012 of piracy, kidnapping, and hostage-taking for acting as a ransom negotiator during the hijacking of the civilian vessel Quest in 2010 and the oil tanker Miranda Marguerite in 2011; Shibin is the highest-ranking pirate ever prosecuted.[20][21]
Timothy L. Tyler 99672-012 Serving a life sentence. Sentenced in 1992 to life in prison for possession and distribution of LSD. Tyler had been arrested twice previously and was on a three-year probation; he had previously not served any jail time.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ bop.gov
  2. ^ "DRC Associates Structural Engineering In Rochester NY". Drc-associates.com. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  3. ^ BOP website.
  4. ^ BOP website.
  5. ^ thetimes-tribune.com
  6. ^ fbi.gov
  7. ^ "Man Sentenced To Life Imprisonment For The Killing Of A Fellow Inmate At Federal Prison". US Department of Justice. October 12, 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  8. ^ connecticut.cbslocal.com
  9. ^ thetimes-tribune.com
  10. ^ syracuse.com
  11. ^ pahomepage.com
  12. ^ Sisak, Michael (March 12, 2013). "Suspect in prison guard's murder identified". Citizen's Voice. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Weinstein, Henry (7 September 1989). "Major Drug Ring Leader Is Convicted". Los Angeles Times. 
  14. ^ Lee, John H. (1991-05-09). "Camarena Figure Gets 3 Life Terms : Drugs: Honduran Juan Matta Ballesteros has received two other lengthy sentences for his role in the DEA agent's murder". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ "The Wall Street Journal". The Wall Street Journal. 
  16. ^ "Daily News". Daily News (New York). 
  17. ^ Tran, My-Thuan (2010-06-23). "Former refugee gets life term over failed Cambodian coup". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  18. ^ justice.gov
  19. ^ Staba, David (20 June 2007). "Life Term for Killer of Buffalo-Area Abortion Provider". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Somali pirates face hard time in US prison". BBC News. 3 October 2011. 
  21. ^ justice.gov
  22. ^ Fuchs, Erin (2013-07-29). "The Heartbreaking Story Of A Harmless Deadhead Sentenced To Die In Prison". Business Insider. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  23. ^ Silvestrini, Elaine (2013-07-29). "Mandatory minimums keep many nonviolent people behind bars". Tampa Tribute. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°33′46″N 75°25′17″W / 41.56278°N 75.42139°W / 41.56278; -75.42139