Federal Medical Center, Lexington

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Coordinates: 38°05′46″N 84°33′53″W / 38.09611°N 84.56472°W / 38.09611; -84.56472

Federal Medical Center, Lexington
Location Fayette County, Kentucky
Status Operational
Security class Administrative facility (with minimum-security prison camp)
Population 1,950 (330 in prison camp)
Opened 1935 (designated as federal prison in 1974)
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons
Warden Francisco Quintana

The Federal Medical Center, Lexington (FMC Lexington) is a United States federal prison in Kentucky for male inmates requiring medical or mental health care. It is designated as an administrative facility, which means that it holds inmates of all security classifications. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility also has an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp for female inmates.

FMC Lexington is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Lexington and 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Frankfort, the state capital.[1]


The site opened on May 15, 1935 on 1,000 acres (400 ha) under the name "United States Narcotic Farm" then changed shortly after to "U.S. Public Health Service Hospital." In 1967, it changed its name again to "National Institute of Mental Health, Clinical Research Center." Its original purpose was to treat people that "voluntarily" were admitted with drug abuse problems and treat them, with mostly experimental treatments; it was the first of its kind in the United States. The 1,050-acre (420 ha) site included a farm where patients would work.[2]

Throughout the life of the institution as a prison/hospital, approximately two-thirds of those sent to the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital were considered volunteers. While many traveled to the institution on their own to volunteer for treatment, other so-called volunteers were in fact motivated to go there in lieu of federal sentencing. The remaining one-third of the prison's population - which at its peak capacity as a prison/hospital housed 1,499 men and women - were there due to federal charges either directly or indirectly related to drug use.

In 1974, the institution became a federal prison but maintained a "psychiatric hospital" title until 1998, the year 2 inmates killed another with a fire extinguisher. Most psychiatric patients were subsequently moved to other federal medical centers, although the change in mission was due to the psychiatric function being transferred to a new Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, and not the homicide.


  • In Nelson Algren's novel The Man With the Golden Arm and the 1955 screen adaptation, the main character Frankie the Machine, a morphine addict, returns to his Chicago neighborhood after being detoxed at the Lexington Medical Center.
  • In William S. Burroughs' book Junkie, the autobiographical main character spends a period of time at "Lexington," where he checks himself in voluntarily in order to quit his heroin addiction. Burroughs himself was a patient at the facility.[3][4]
  • In Alexander King's book Mine Enemy Grows Older, King recounts his sojourns at "Lexington Bluegrass Hospital," where he "heard the best jazz ever played anywhere" by a continually changing lineup of famous jazz musicians, all there voluntarily for treatment for heroin addiction.

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Narseal Batiste 76736-004 Serving a 13-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2018. Leader of the Universal Divine Saviors religious cult; convicted of terrorism conspiracy in 2009 for masterminding a foiled plot to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago. Four co-conspirators were also convicted.[5][6]
Daniel Cowart 22540-076 Serving a 14-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2021. White supremacist; pleaded guilty in 2010 to plotting the assassination of then-Presidential nominee Barack Obama in 2008; co-conspirator Paul Schlesselman was sentenced to 10 years.[7][8]
Riccardo Tolliver 07999-032 Serving a 32-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2033. Leader of an international arms trafficking ring which acquired and smuggled firearms from the United States into Canada in exchange for Canadian drugs; pleaded guilty in 2009 to weapons and narcotics charges.[9]
Kinde Durkee 57860-112 Serving an 8-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2020. Former campaign treasurer for 400 Democratic candidates, including US Senator Dianne Feinstein; pleaded guilty to mail fraud for siphoning $7 million in campaign funds and using the money to subsidize her private business.[10]
Apollo Nida 65725-019 Serving a 6-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2020. Appeared in Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo; pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud for creating two fake collection companies in order to steal the personal information of over 50 victims, which he used to obtain fraudulent auto loans.[11][12][13]


† Inmates released from custody prior to 1982 are not listed on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Susan Rosenberg 03684-016 Released in 2001 after her sentence was commuted by President Bill Clinton; served 16 years of a 58-year sentence. Political activist and former member of the May 19th Communist Organization, a terrorist group which carried out bombings of government facilities and bank robberies in the 1980s; convicted of possessing explosives in 1984.[14][15]
Silvia Baraldini 05125-054 Transferred to an Italian prison in 1999 while serving a 40-year sentence. Political activist from Italy; convicted of racketeering in 1982 for taking part in two armored truck robberies, as well as for aiding convicted murdered Assata Shakur escape from prison.[16][17]
Wayne Kramer Unlisted† Held at FMC Lexington in the 1970s; served 2 years. Guitarist and co-founder of the Detroit rock band MC5; convicted of selling cocaine to undercover police officers.[18]
Red Rodney Unlisted† Held at FMC Lexington in the 1970s; served 27 months. Bop and hard bop trumpeter; convicted of fraud and theft for impersonating an Army officer in order to steal $10,000 from the Atomic Energy Commission of San Francisco.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BOP: Our Locations". Bop.gov. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  2. ^ Thomas R. Kosten and David A. Gorelick (January 2002). "The Lexington Narcotic Farm" (PDF). American Journal of Psychiatry 159 (22): 22–22. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.1.22. PMID 11772684. 
  3. ^ "Lessons from The Narcotic Farm, Part One | Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society". Pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com. 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  4. ^ "Lessons of the Narcotic Farm, Part Four: The Literature of Lexington | Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society". Pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  5. ^ "5 Florida men get prison for plotting terrorist attacks with al Qaeda". CNN. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  6. ^ "Miami jury finds five guilty in Sears Tower plot". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  7. ^ "Man pleads guilty in plot to go on 'killing spree' against blacks". CNN. 30 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Tennessee Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Commit Murders of African-Americans | OPA | Department of Justice". Justice.gov. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  9. ^ "LEADER OF INTERNATIONAL FIREARMS TRAFFICKING NETWORK SENTENCED TO 32 YEARS IN PRISON". US Department of Justice. April 24, 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Treasurer Who Defrauded Feinstein, Others, Sentenced". Huffington Post. November 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Apollo Nida Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Mail, Wire And Bank Fraud". US Department of Justice. US Government. May 6, 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (May 7, 2014). "'Real Housewives Of Atlanta' Star, Apollo Nida, Pleads Guilty To Mail, Wire & Bank Fraud". Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Duke, Alan (July 9, 2014). "'Real Housewives Of Atlanta' husband Apollo Nida gets prison for fraud". CNN (Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.). Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "An Exclusive Interview with Susan Rosenberg After President Clinton Granted Her Executiveclemency". Democracy Now!. 2001-01-23. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  15. ^ "Voices from Solitary: Imprisoned in the First Control Unit for Women". Solitary Watch. 2011-02-26. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  16. ^ "Human Rights Campaign for Political Prisoners Begins" (PDF). Freedomarchives.org. March 1989. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  17. ^ "#375: 08-24-99 DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STATEMENT REGARDING THE TRANSFER OF SILVIA BARALDINI". Justice.gov. 1999-08-24. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  18. ^ "Ex-Inmate Musician Returns To Jail With Guitars". Huffington Post. March 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Rodney, Red (Robert Rodney Chudnick) – Jazz.com | Jazz Music – Jazz Artists – Jazz News". Jazz.com. Retrieved 2015-10-07. 

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