Federal Correctional Institution, Pekin

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Federal Correctional Institution, Pekin
LocationPekin, Illinois
Security classMedium-security (with minimum-security prison camp)
Population1,200 (300 in prison camp)
Managed byFederal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Correctional Institution, Pekin (FCI Pekin) is a medium-security United States federal prison for female inmates in Illinois. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility also has an adjacent satellite prison camp which houses minimum-security male offenders.

FCI Pekin is located approximately 10 miles south of Peoria, Illinois, 180 miles southwest of Chicago, and 180 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri.[1] It is located within the city limits of Pekin, Illinois.

Kathy Kelly, who had been incarcerated in the Pekin complex, wrote the book Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison.[2] Shon Hopwood, while serving time in FCI Pekin, became an accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he was released in 2008.[3]


In 1988 the mayor and four city council members voted on whether to welcome a federal prison that was scheduled to open in the area. 13,665 people had voted in a previous advisory referendum which had seen fewer than 1% of votes in favor of the prison. Therefore, the mayor and two council members who voted for the prison faced political backlash: the mayor and one member were defeated at re-election and another member did not run again. In 1994 the prison opened in land in far southern Pekin that had been newly annexed.[4] The minimum security camp opened in 1994 and previously housed females.[5] In May 2011 the female population was replaced by a male population so the federal authorities could have more space for in-house drug treatment programs for men.[6]

On the 20th anniversary of the prison's opening, Michael Smothers of GateHouse Media Illinois wrote that no significant opposition to the prison remained, and so did Mayor of Pekin Laurie Barra and the Pekin Chief of Police Greg Nelson. Smothers added that there were no protests occurring.[4]

Facilities and operations[edit]

As of 2011 the medium security area housed about 1,200 prisoners while the minimum security facility housed about 300 prisoners.[6]

As of 1994 the FPC Pekin minimum security complex was composed of two dormitories and a central compound with classrooms, office buildings, and recreation buildings surrounded by grass. The prison did not have razor wire fences nor guard towers. Mark S. Fleisher and Jennifer A. Harrington, authors of "Freelisting: Management at a Women's Federal Prison Camp", wrote that the minimum security camp "resembles a small college campus" and "does not fit the stereotype of a prison."[5]

The prison camp population often did volunteer work around the community. When FPC Pekin housed women, there were issues as women were not permitted to do certain jobs requested by area non-profit organizations.[6]

Notable incidents[edit]

Death of Adam Montoya[edit]

On the morning of November 13, 2009, 36-year-old inmate Adam Montoya was found dead in his cell at FCI Pekin. Montoya had arrived at FCI Pekin 18 days before to begin serving a 27-month sentence for check fraud. An autopsy concluded that Montoya had been suffering from cancer of the spleen, hepatitis and HIV. The immediate cause of death was internal bleeding due to a ruptured spleen, caused by the cancer.[7]

Tazewell County Coroner Dennis Conover and other experts concluded that Montoya likely exhibited blatant symptoms of hepatitis and cancer, most notably dramatic weight loss, a swollen abdomen and yellow eyes. They said that those symptoms, as well as the severe pain Montoya complained of, should have prompted staff to transport the prisoner immediately to the hospital. The Associated Press quoted Conover as stating, "He shouldn't have died in agony like that...he had been out there long enough that he should have at least died in the hospital."[7]

During Montoya's final days, he "consistently made requests to the prison for medical attention, and they wouldn't give it to him," said his father, Juan Montoya, who described how his son repeatedly punched the panic button seeking help.[7] Three inmates corroborated that account in interviews with the Associated Press.[7] Montoya's family filed a wrongful death and personal injury claim, which was denied by the Justice Department. A lawsuit is pending.[7][8][9]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Tony Rezko 19050-424 Transferred to a halfway house pending his release date in 2016, serving a 10-year sentence.[10] Former top fundraiser to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; convicted in 2008 of fraud, money laundering and bribery in connection with his plotting to take more than $9.6 million in kickbacks from firms seeking state business.[11]
Joseph Miedzianowski 11502-424 Serving a life sentence.[10] Former Chicago Police officer; convicted in 2003 of racketeering and conspiracy for running a cocaine distribution organization composed of other officers and gang members; known as the most corrupt police officer in Chicago history.[12]
John Tomkins 19421-424 Serving a 37-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2039. Iowa machinist; convicted in 2012 of mailing a dozen threatening letters and two pipe bombs to investment firms between 2005 and 2007 as part of a terror campaign aimed at driving up the value of stock he owned in two companies.[13][14]
Shon Hopwood 15632-047 Released in 2009; served an 11-year sentence.[15] Pleaded guilty in 1998 to robbing five Nebraska banks in 1997 and 1998; earned a Juris Doctor Degree and became a judicial law clerk, Supreme Court practitioner, and prison reform advocate after his release.[15]
Rita Crundwell 44540-424 Currently serving a nearly 20-year sentence.[15] Pleaded guilty in 2012 to embezzling over $53 million from the city of Dixon. Was the subject of All the Queen's Horses, a 2017 documentary by Kartemquin Films.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FCI Pekin". Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  2. ^ Diuguid, Lewis. Discovering the Real America: Toward a More Perfect Union. Universal-Publishers, 2007. ISBN 1599424215, 9781599424217 p. 490.
  3. ^ Liptak, Adam (February 8, 2010), "A Mediocre Criminal, but an Unmatched Jailhouse Lawyer", New York Times, retrieved May 23, 2010
  4. ^ a b Smothers, Michael. "Once divisive, Pekin prison quietly celebrates 20 years in operation" (Archive). GateHouse Media Illinois at the Pekin Journal Star. October 13, 2014. Retrieved on February 16, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fleisher, Mark S. and Jennifer A. Harrington. "Freelisting: Management at a Women's Federal Prison Camp" (Chapter 4). In: De Munck, Victor C and Elisa J. Sobo (editors). Using Methods in the Field: A Practical Introduction and Casebook. Rowman Altamira, 1998. ISBN 0761989137, 9780761989134. Start: p. 69. CITED: p. 69.
  6. ^ a b c Harris, Sharon Woods. "Prison community service to expand" (Archive). Pekin Daily Times. March 17, 2011. Retrieved on February 16, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e Mercer, David (June 28, 2010). "Adam Montoya Died In Agony: Pekin Prison Inmate Begged For Help For Nine Days, Witnesses Say". Huffington Post.
  8. ^ "Illinois Inmate's Father Not Surprised Claim Denied". Claims Journal. 13 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Inmate Locator - Adam Montoya". Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  10. ^ a b "The Federal Correctional Institution-Pekin's most notable inmates". Gatehouse Media, Inc. October 12, 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  11. ^ Korecki, Natasha (November 22, 2011). "Tony Rezko sentenced to 10-1/2 years in kickback scheme". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  12. ^ Lighty, Todd (January 25, 2003). "Rogue cop gets life". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  13. ^ "IOWA MAN CONVICTED OF MAILING PIPE BOMBS AND THREATENING LETTERS TO INVESTMENT FIRMS IN TERROR BID TO RAISE STOCK PRICES" (PDF). US Department of Justice. May 4, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  14. ^ Meisner, Jason (May 21, 2013). "'Bishop' bomber sentenced to 37 years in prison". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Liptak, Adam (February 8, 2010). "A Mediocre Criminal, but an Unmatched Jailhouse Lawyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°32′09″N 89°39′33″W / 40.53583°N 89.65917°W / 40.53583; -89.65917