Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia

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Coordinates: 39°57′10″N 75°09′05″W / 39.9529°N 75.1515°W / 39.9529; -75.1515

Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia
Federal Detention Center Philadelphia.jpg
LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Security classAdministrative facility (all security levels)
Managed byFederal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Detention Center (FDC Philadelphia) is a United States Federal prison in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which holds male and female inmates prior to or during court proceedings, as well as inmates serving brief sentences. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.[1]

The jail, across from the William J. Green Jr. Federal Building,[2] is on a 1-acre (0.40 ha) site the southwest corner of Arch Street and 7th Street, across from the African American Museum in Philadelphia and in the Independence Mall area.[3]

The jail is 12 stories tall. It has 628 cells for United States Marshal Service pre-trial inmates, primarily from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey and the District of Delaware. Federal Detention Center Philadelphia is also a United States Parole Commission Revocation Site. 120 prisoners, already sentenced, serve as staff. The prison is connected to a tunnel that allows people to travel to and from the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse.[4]


The proposal to build the jail at its current site, which at the time was a mostly vacant plot of land, was made public in February 1992.[3] Spokespersons for the museum and the businesses at the East Market Street expressed opposition to the proposal,[5] as did businesses in Chinatown and U.S. House of Representatives member Thomas Foglietta. The East Market Street businesses did not want prisoners close to their businesses. The African-American museum objected to a reminder of the incarceration of black men. Chinatown businesses stated that the prison may drive away customers and block expansion of Chinatown from the Vine Street Expressway.[2] Edmund Bacon wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed that this jail would damage efforts to revitalize portions of Center City.[6]

As of April 1993, prior to the opening of the detention center, there were 18 federal prisons throughout the U.S. that housed pretrial inmates awaiting proceedings in Philadelphia. FDC Philadelphia, scheduled to cost $85 million, was built so the pretrial federal inmates could be housed in Philadelphia itself.[7]

The federal government pursued building the prison at its selected site, with the legal processes for condemning structures on the site and acquiring the site beginning in March 1995 and with groundbreaking at a former parking lot on the tract in January 1997.[2] Its formal opening was scheduled for June 1, 2000. Ultimately its construction cost was $68 million. 120 prisoners whose sentences were about to end served as a work cadre from April 1 until the prison's opening.[4]

Mark Davis of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that the tunnel directly connecting the jail with the courthouse "appeared to appease nearly every critic" against the prison's construction, and that the prison did not visually appear like one.[2]


Each 96-square-foot (8.9 m2) prison cell has slit windows, a bunk bed, a toilet, twin lockers, a writing table, a basin, and drains at the perimeters.[4] The prison includes a caged recreation area with basketball and handball facility. The prison has facilities for reheating meals meant to be served to prisoners.[8]

Notable incidents[edit]

On March 19, 2012, Richard Spisak, 35, pleaded guilty to engaging in a sexual act with a male prisoner over whom he had disciplinary authority while Spisak was a Senior Corrections Specialist at FDC Philadelphia in 2010. Spisak further admitted to threatening to set off his body alarm and falsely report that the inmate had attacked him if the inmate did not perform oral sex on him. The victim acquiesced after Spisak's threats. Two other inmates testified at Spisak's sentencing hearing that Spisak victimized them in a similar manner. Spisak was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison on June 28, 2012.[9][10][11]

Notable Inmates (current and former)[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Shain Duka

Dritan Duka

Eljvir Duka




Serving a life sentences; temporarily at FDC Philadelphia pending an appeals hearing.[12] Involved in the 2007 Fort Dix attack plot; convicted in 2008 of conspiring to kill American soldiers and possessing firearms with the intent to conduct a terrorist attack at the New Jersey military base.[13][14] Eljvir Duka is at USP Hazelton, Dritan Duka is at USP Marion and Shain Duka is at ADX Florence
Kimberly Jones 56198-054 Released from custody in 2006; served 11 months.[15] American rap artist and actress known as Lil' Kim; convicted of conspiracy and perjury in 2005 for lying to a federal grand jury about her and her friends' involvement in a 2001 shootout in New York City, during which a bystander was wounded.[16]
Barry Croft 11796-509 Currently awaiting trial Charged in the thwarted plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Kaboni Savage[17] 58232-066 Located at Florence ADX Convicted of murders related to witness intimidation. Sentenced to death, will be transferred from ADX Florence to USP Terre Haute when an execution date is set.
Drew Drechsel 73733-018 Currently awaiting trial Winner of American Ninja Warrior 2019, charged with four felonies for various crimes in regards to criminal sexual conduct.[18]
Clare Bronfman 91010-053 Serving an 81 month sentence; scheduled for release June 29, 2026 Pleaded guilty to conspiring to conceal and harbor an undocumented immigrant for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "FDC Philadelphia". Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  2. ^ a b c d Davis, Mark. "From Pariah To `Monument' A New Prison Was The Last Thing Needed Downtown. Or Was It?" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. October 21, 1998. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Hine, Thomas. "Would Detention Center Fit Into Neighborhood?" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 29, 1992. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Slobodzian, Joseph A. "Federal Detention Center Nears Its Debut The Ultramodern Center City Facility Is Built Over A Tunnel That Links It With The Courthouse. Some Inmates Move In April 1." (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 23, 2000. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Goodman, Howard. "Proposed U.s. Prison Draws Fire Neighbors Hit Center City Site" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. February 21, 1992. Retrieved on February 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Bacon, Edmund. "A Jail Near Independence Hall? No!" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. August 22, 1992. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "Detention Center At 7th And Arch Makes Good Sense - Despite What Critics Say" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 9, 1993. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Kashatus, William C. "What We Can Learn From Eastern State" (Archive). The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 23, 2000. Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Hanson, Tony (June 29, 2012). "Former Guard Sentenced To Prison For Assaulting Inmates". CBS Philly. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  10. ^ "FORMER PRISON GUARD SENTENCED FOR FORCING SEX ON AN INMATE" (PDF). US Department of Justice. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Inmate Locator - Richard Spisak". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  12. ^ "The Movement" (PDF). hrcoalition.org. Human Rights Coalition. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  13. ^ Von Zielbauer, Paul; Hurdle, Jon (2008-12-22). "Five Are Convicted of Conspiring to Attack Fort Dix". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Two Additional Defendants Sentenced for Conspiring to Kill U.S. Soldiers". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Lil' Kim leaves prison, steps into Rolls." The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 3, 2006. Retrieved on January 6, 2010.
  16. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (March 17, 2005). "Lil' Kim Found Guilty Of Lying To Grand Jury, Investigators". MTV News. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  17. ^ Anastasia, George (2011-03-28). "Drug kingpin Kaboni Savage is unhappy at the Federal Detention Center". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  18. ^ "Florida Man Charged with Child Sex Offenses in New Jersey". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 27 May 2021.

External links[edit]