Federal Medical Center, Butner

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Federal Medical Center, Butner
LocationDurham County, North Carolina
Security classAll security levels (with adjacent camp for minimum-security inmates)
Managed byFederal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Medical Center, Butner (FMC Butner) is a United States federal prison in North Carolina for male inmates of all security levels who have special health needs. It is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Complex and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. An adjacent satellite prison camp houses minimum-security male inmates.

FMC Butner is located near the Research Triangle area of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill.[1]

Facility and programs[edit]

FMC Butner has a full hospital facility specializing in oncology and behavioral science. Many medical and surgical specialties hold clinics and perform procedures at the FMC. It has the only residential program devoted to the treatment of sexual offenders in the federal prison system.

In 2009 Philip Fornaci, the director of the DC Prisoners' Project, stated that FMC Butner, along with FMC Carswell and FMC Rochester, "are clearly the "gold standard" in terms of what BOP facilities can achieve in providing medical care" and that they had provided "excellent medical care, sometimes for extremely complex medical needs."[2]

Butner study[edit]

In 2009, a study conducted by psychologists Michael Bourke and Andres Hernandez was published in the Journal of Family Violence. The results suggested a strong link between viewing child pornography and sexual abuse. The findings went against the conventional and widely held belief that while abhorrent, a person passively viewing child pornography had an insignificant causal link with that person actually molesting a child.[3]

In what is known as the "Butner Study," Bourke and Hernandez analyzed data on 155 men convicted of child pornography offenses, who took part in an 18-month treatment program between 2002 and 2005, during which the men filled out assessment measures including a "victims list," where they revealed the number of children they had molested in the past.

74% of the men denied molesting anyone when they were sentenced. However, by the end of treatment, 85% had admitted to sexually molesting a child at least once. The numbers are more than twice that of other studies. In explaining this discrepancy, Bourke said, "Our treatment team worked for an average of 18 months with each offender, and the environment was one of genuine therapeutic trust" that encouraged the men to tell the truth about themselves.[4]

A critique of the study is that the use of a population of participants in the most intensive sex offender treatment program offered in the federal prison system skewed the sample. Offenders had to have received at least a thirty-six-month sentence to be eligible for the program. Melissa Hamilton argues, "These offenders may well, then, have represented particularly dangerous offenders who were a high risk to children since they had been prosecuted, convicted, given more than minimal prison sentences, and accepted into the limited-space program because of a perceived need by themselves and program clinicians for a lengthy and intensive residential program."[5]

Notable incidents[edit]

In October 2012, the oldest inmate in the federal prison system, Drayton Curry, (inmate # 24017-037), (now surpassed by John Franzese) died at FMC Butner at age 92[6]. Curry was serving a life sentence for a 1992 drug trafficking conviction and had petitioned US President Barack Obama for clemency in February 2011 due to old age and poor health. Advocates of the prison reform system cited Curry's situation as a reason for reconsidering mandatory minimum federal drug sentences.[7]

Notable inmates[edit]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
John Hinckley, Jr. 00137-177 Released to a psychiatric hospital in 1981. Attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981, as the culmination of an effort to impress teen actress Jodie Foster; found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982.[8]
James von Brunn 07128-016 Died at FMC Butner while awaiting trial in 2010. White supremacist and Holocaust denier who perpetrated the 2009 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting, during which Museum Security Guard Stephen T. Johns was killed.[9]
Frank Calabrese, Sr. 49955-079 Died at FMC Butner in 2012 while serving a life sentence. Hitman for the Chicago Outfit Mafia organization; arrested as part of Operation Family Secrets; convicted in 2007 of racketeering conspiracy for directing and engaging in Mafia activities including murder, extortion and loansharking.[10][11]
Salvatore DiMasi 27371-038 Served an 8-year sentence; released November 22, 2016. Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 2004 to 2009; convicted in 2011 of conspiracy, honest services fraud and extortion for steering contracts to the software company Cognos in exchange for $65,000 in kickbacks.[12]
Omar Abdel-Rahman 34892-054 Served a life sentence under the name Omar Ahmad Rahman until his death on February 18, 2017.[13] Leader of the terrorist organization al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya; convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy for masterminding a foiled plot to bomb high-profile targets in New York City, as well as conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.[14][15]
Tony Alamo 00305-112 Served a life sentence under his actual name, Bernie Lazar Hoffman, until his death on May 2, 2017. Cult leader from Arkansas; convicted in 2009 of ten counts of transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes for using his influence to force children as young as 8 into marriages and sexual relationships.[16][17][18]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Russell Weston, Jr. 22372-016 Being held indefinitely; the Bureau of Prisons lists his status as "Hospital Treatment Completed." Responsible for the 1998 United States Capitol shooting, during which he fatally shot Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut of the US Capitol Police and wounded a tourist. Weston was subsequently ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.[19]
Tom Manning 10373-016 Serving a 58-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2020. Member of the United Freedom Front, a Marxist group which carried out bank robberies and bombings at corporate buildings, courthouses and military facilities in the 1970s and 1980s; convicted of the 1981 murder of NJ State Trooper Philip Lomonaco.[20]
Harry Bowman 26595-039 Serving a life sentence. President of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club; convicted in 2001 of directing a racketeering enterprise which engaged in drug trafficking, extortion, murders and bombings; one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives until his capture in 1999.[21][22]
James Leon Guerrero 03744-045 Serving a life sentence. Pleaded guilty to murdering Correctional Officer Jose Rivera at the United States Penitentiary, Atwater on June 20, 2008; accomplice Jose Cabrera-Sablan also pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.[23]
Joshua Ryne Goldberg 63197-018 Awaiting sentencing.[24] Pleaded guilty to attempting to bomb a Kansas City, Missouri 9/11 memorial event while posing as an ISIS supporter.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BOP: FMC Butner". Bop.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  2. ^ Fornaci, Philip (Director of the DC Prisoners' Project). "Federal Bureau of Prisons Oversight Hearing" (Archive). Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. July 21, 2009. Retrieved on February 5, 2016.
  3. ^ Sher, Julian; Carey, Benedict (2007-07-19). "Debate on Child Pornography's Link to Molesting". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  4. ^ "Porn use and child abuse". Apa.org. 2007-07-19. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  5. ^ Hamilton, Melissa (April 2012). "The Child Pornography Crusade and Its Net-Widening Effect". Cardozo Law Review. 33 (1679).
  6. ^ "Drayton Curry, Nation's Oldest Federal Prisoner, Dies Without Obama Deciding on His Two-Year Old Clemency Request".
  7. ^ Rayman, Graham (September 12, 2011). "Drayton Curry, 92, Nation's Oldest Federal Prisoner: Obama AWOL On Clemency Request - New York News - Runnin' Scared". Village Voice. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "John Hinckley, Jr. . Reagan . WGBH American Experience". PBS. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  9. ^ Wilber, Del Quentin (January 7, 2010). "Von Brunn, white supremacist Holocaust museum shooter, dies". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Chicago mob hitman Frank Calabrese dies in federal prison". Fox News. 2012-12-27.
  11. ^ Coen, Jeff (2009-01-29). "Mob hit man gets life in Family Secrets case". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ Blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, linked to 1993 World Trade Center bombing, dies at 78
  15. ^ "'Supermax' prison awaits Moussaoui". BBC News. 2006-05-04.
  16. ^ "Evangelist guilty of taking minors across state lines for sex". CNN. July 24, 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Evangelist Tony Alamo Sentenced to 175 Years for Taking Girls Across State Lines for Sex". Fox News. November 13, 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  18. ^ Gambrell, John (November 13, 2009). "Tony Alamo, Evangelist, Sentenced To 175 Years For Sex Crimes". Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Judge Rules Capitol Gunman Can Be Forced to Take Medicine". Newyorktimes.com. 2002-08-03. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  20. ^ "New Jersey State Police - History - 1980's". State.nj.us. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  21. ^ "WHITE PRISON GANGS: Harry Bowman Outlaws MC". Whiteprisongangs.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  22. ^ Leisner, Pat. "Outlaw Biker Gets Life - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  23. ^ Doyle, Michael (March 7, 2014). "Inmate in Atwater penitentiary murder will get life in plea deal". Merced Sun-Star. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Clay County man enters guilty plea to bomb charge". Clay Today. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  25. ^ "American Jewish 'online troll' arrested in alleged Kansas City 9/11 memorial bomb plot". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015-09-20.