Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute

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Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute
United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute
Location Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana
Status Operational
Security class High, medium, and minimum-security
Population 3,000 (two facilities and prison camp)
Opened 1940
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute (FCC Terre Haute) is a United States federal prison complex for male inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice, and consists of two facilities:

Gonorrhea experiments[edit]

The Terre Haute Prison Experiments in 1943 and 1944 were the precursor to the Syphilis experiments in Guatemala.[4][5][6][7]

In 1942, the sixth Surgeon General of the United States Thomas Parran, Jr. endorsed medical experiments on STD transmission so long as volunteers were found to be exposed to infection.

Because of the great prevalence of gonorrhea and its importance in the production of noneffective [sic] man-days both in the armed forces and civilian population, I believe that the human inoculation experiments proposed by Doctor Carpenter are justifiable if the human subjects are selected on a voluntary basis.

In 1943, a decision was made to use prisoners as volunteers, as soldiers could not be guaranteed sexual abstinence for six months, and the mentally ill were not considered appropriate research subjects. Due to legal issues, the Army Medical Corps preferred federal prisons to state run institutions, and Terre Haute had the best medical facilities. Prisoners participated with consent, receiving $100 for their involvement. A 2011 US Bioethics report states:

In total, 241 prisoners participated in the experiments, which ended in 1944. The first stage of the experiment required the investigators to develop a consistent technique for producing gonorrhea in subjects. Dr. Mahoney, Dr. Cutler, and their staff began efforts to infect subjects through artificial exposure in October 1943, a year after Dr. Carpenter first proposed the work to Dr. Moore. All subjects were inoculated with bacteria deposited into the end of the penis. The researchers tried a variety of strains and concentrations of gonorrhea. At least some of the strains were gathered from local commercial sex workers who were examined by Dr. Blum after they had been arrested in Terre Haute by local police.

The infection methods used by doctors did not involve natural sexual intercourse, unlike in 1947 in the Syphilis experiments in Guatemala. Dr John Charles Cutler supported the experiment to his death.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2][dead link]
  3. ^ "BOP: Statistics". Bop.gov. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  4. ^ "“Ethically impossible” - STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948" (PDF). Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. September 2011. 
  5. ^ Walter, Matthew (2012). "Human experiments: First, do harm". Nature 482 (7384): 148–152. doi:10.1038/482148a. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  6. ^ "Hopkins faces $1B lawsuit over role in 1950s government study that gave subjects STDs". Carroll County Times. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  7. ^ Selyukh, Alina (2011-08-30). "U.S. researchers broke rules in Guatemala syphilis study". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°24′45″N 87°27′15″W / 39.4126°N 87.4542°W / 39.4126; -87.4542