Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles

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Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles
LocationLos Angeles, California
Security classAdministrative facility (all security levels)
Managed byFederal Bureau of Prisons

The Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles (MDC Los Angeles) is a United States federal prison in downtown Los Angeles, California which holds male and female inmates prior to and during court proceedings, as well as inmates serving short sentences. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.[1]


The 272,000-square-foot (25,300 m2) prison opened in December 1988 with a cost of $36 million, making Los Angeles the fifth U.S. city with a downtown federal prison. MDC Los Angeles had a distinct design, referring to housing areas as rooms rather than cells and not using iron bars on its cell doors. It had a special design using plate glass windows, balconies, and atriums. Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the building has "more the look of a downtown office building than a prison."[2] It was the first BOP prison to completely ban smoking.[2]

Prior to the opening of MDC Los Angeles, Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island housed the Los Angeles area pretrial inmates. This situation caused overcrowding at FCI Terminal Island.[2]

The opening of MDC Los Angeles allowed prisoners whose trials are pending to be housed just two blocks from the U.S. District Courthouse, ending the time-consuming process of transporting them back and forth down the Harbor Freeway each day court is in session. The U.S. Marshal's Service saves at least $200,000 a year by not having to transport the usual 250 to 300 prisoners a week from FCI Terminal Island and the federal public defender's office saves $18,000 a year in telephone bills alone because it no longer has to rely on clients calling person-to-person collect from FCI Terminal Island.[2]


Various services are available to inmates at MDC Los Angeles, including drug treatment and education programs, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, GED and ESL classes, and correspondence classes. Inmates may meet with a chaplain or a priest upon request.[3]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Jose Cabrera Sablan 90470-011 Deceased. Pleaded guilty to murdering Federal Correctional Officer Jose Rivera at the United States Penitentiary, Atwater on June 20, 2008; accomplice James Leon Guerrero also pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.[4]
Vianna Roman

Aaron Soto



Roman is currently at FCI Dublin, Soto was released in 2018 Daughter and son-in-law of imprisoned Mexican Mafia kingpin Danny Roman; indicted in 2012 for allegedly receiving orders from Roman and directing gang activities which include extortion, robbery, drug trafficking and murder.[5]
Patrick Naughton 15661-112 Released on bail December 22, 1999 Software developer convicted in 2000 for traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to have sex with a minor when he took a Disney private jet from Seattle to Los Angeles hoping to meet up with a minor but was actually an undercover FBI agent
Anthony Pellicano 21568-112 Released in 2019 Convicted of possessing homemade firearms
Max Hardcore 44902-112 Transferred to FCI La Tuna, released in 2011 American porn producer, director and performer. Was convicted on obscenity charges and sentenced to 46 months in prison.
Irv Rubin 20965-112 committed suicide in 2002 while awaiting trial Charged with Federal terrorism. Conspiracy to bomb up a mosque, the offices of US Congressman Darrell Issa, and the offices of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana 22829-424 serving a 14 year sentence, scheduled for release in 2026 Convicted for providing material to terrorist organizations .

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MDC Los Angeles". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Murphy, Kim (January 3, 1989). "U.S. Opens a High-Rise Prison in Civic Center". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The U.S. Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp. 253–254. ISBN 978-0761923046. 253.
  4. ^ Johnson, Brian (June 26, 2015). "No death penalty for inmate accused of fatally stabbing Atwater prison guard Jose Rivera". ABC30 Action News. KSFN-TV Fresno, CA. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  5. ^ Martinez, Michael (December 6, 2012). "Feds bust Los Angeles gang controlled by inmate". CNN. Retrieved 20 October 2013.

Coordinates: 34°03′14″N 118°14′18″W / 34.0538°N 118.2382°W / 34.0538; -118.2382