Talk:Supermax prison

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This page is pretty badly written, conveys little factual information and is US-centric. --WibblyLeMoende 02:08, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Supermax prisons ARE a US-centric matter. --non-registered user, 19/04/07

Souza-Baranowski in MA[edit]

AFAIK Souza-Baranowski is in fact a supermax; I do know it's the most secure facility in Massachusetts, the James Geoghan fiasco notwithstanding. There's actually two prisons in Shirley -- Souza-Baranowski is the more secure, while I believe MCI Shirley is considered a medium-security prison. Haikupoet 04:32, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

This issue is over a year old with no defense for inclusion of SBCC on the supermax list. According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Corrections (see Souza-Baranowski is a level six (highest in the Commonwealth) maximum security facility. It is indeed located within MCI-Shirley, and is considered to be a seperate facility. It likely does not conform to the standards of federal supermax prisons, and at any rate, since the Commonwealth doesn't have a "supermax" designation, it doesn't seem appropriate to keep on this list. I have removed it. 21:46, 11 December 2006 (UTC)


Shouldnt this be a diversity page ? There is at least a Rock Band called "Supermax" which played from 1977 at least until 2002.

Official Supermax Homepage 10:12, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

If you want a page on the rock band Supermax, start one Lurker 11:10, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I just reverted an edit by an IP-address user on the following basis: it's not at all clear (to me anyway) what is meant by registering the brand, and in any case there are (per Google) several other organisations using the name Supermax, so the mere existence of the band as a user of the name is not particularly significant in the context of the article on prisons. However, as Lurker says above, if anyone wants to start an article on Supermax (band) that would be great and of course we could disambiguate. Barnabypage 18:13, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Extreme POV edits[edit]

I went ahead and removed a paragraph from the introduction. First, it was incredibly POV and needed to be reworked massively. Second, another paragraph gave essentially all of the same information that was in the paragraph I deleted (the second-to-last paragraph of the intro) and it's much better. This information can be in the article, but it needs to be NPOV. --Deville (Talk) 03:22, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Edits on May 5 2006[edit]

In comments, I meant to add that my edit of 05:28, 5 May 2006 also restored a paragraph that was deleted by User Greif528; cf. diff. Sorry about the error. thx, Jim Butler 05:35, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Discussion Point June 8 2006[edit]

Can we please stop referring to Moussaoui as "the 20th hijacker"? It is now widely known that he was not here as part of the 9/11 operation, although he was certainly here to train for another, still undiscovered/undisclosed operation. The 20th hijacker was turned away at Orlando Int'l Airport in August, 2001 by a US Customs agent while Mohammed Atta waited in the terminal area for him to arrive. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

While true, it does remain a functional short-hand on how to describe him. I will add to the description to clarify. - RoyBoy 800 05:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

John Allen Muhammad[edit]

There is a problem with this article. Either Muhammad needs to be removed, or the Sussex I State Prison in Virginia needs to be added. That is where death row is in Virginia, and it is also where the inmate locator for the Virginia prison system indicates he is.

I am not certain whether or not Sussex I is a supermax facility, so I'm not making the edit myself. Erechtheus 06:04, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I rethought what I was saying and decided the better policy would be to remove Muhammad. If someone knows Sussex I to be a supermax facility, they can add both the prison and Muhammad back to the article. Erechtheus 06:07, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
This press release by the Virginia Department of Corrections makes it pretty clear Sussex I is not a supermax facility. Erechtheus 23:17, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Christopher "Rizler" William Smith "Minnesota spam king"[edit]

While I do hate spam, I gotta say I don't think this guy fits in with the others. Can anyone confirm he's in a supermax? --mitrebox 04:18, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I can offer this. Erechtheus 23:18, 1 July 2006 (UTC)


"Supermax and Special Housing United (SHU) prisons are somewhat controversial in some quarters, as some claim..."? (how?,which?, and who?)

Crocodilicus 03:39, 3 November 2006 (UTC) Attica CF is not, and never was, a "supermax". It's an old fashioned NYS maximum security facility capable of housing any and all inmates. Within Attica there is a Special Housing Unit (SHU) for inmates who have been designated as needing an even higher level of security due to behavioral issues. Southport CF, near Elmira, NY, is the only NYS facility referred to as a "maxi-max". The system also has a number of S-Blocks which are 100, double bunked cells located on the grounds of existing prisons. The S-Blocks house inmates internally sentenced to "special housing". Referring to S-Blocks as "super-maxes" would be a stretch. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:04, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Supermax? Isn't that a US term?[edit]

I think some sections of this page should be moved to Prisons in the United States and the article renamed to "Maximum security prisons", as "Supermax" is an incorrect nomenclature. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TempestSA (talkcontribs) 00:26, 6 December 2006 (UTC).

Agreed. This article is totally from an American view point. [[User:]] 11:42, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

agreed, supermax should be mentioned on the us prisons article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

David Berkowitz[edit]

David Berkowitz is at Attica Prison in New York, which is not a Supermax prison, or at least is not listed as such in this article. This conflicting information should be corrected.

ADMAX purpose and human rights[edit]

Right after the paragraph about the inhumane confines of supermax facilities, we say that ADMAX is "a Supermax prison intended to fulfill such a role."

This makes it sound like ADMAX was built with torture in mind. This surely is not the case. The writer probably meant it was built to assuage human rights concerns. I don't know about ADMAX's origins, so I'm not going to correct it. MatthewBurton (talk) 20:03, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I was puzzled by the same odd phrasing, but took the time to investigate the article history. It seems to be a result of this edit, which removed the description of the role referred to in the next sentence. Careless edits seem to sometimes linger for a long time? Someone better than me may want to fix this some day. --Lasse Hillerøe Petersen (talk) 06:57, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I've made a temporary fix until we can find definitive information on its role. I removed the "intended to fulfill such a role" stuff. Not a complete resolution of the problem, but it's better than it was. MatthewBurton (talk) 21:29, 25 June 2008 (UTC)


SHU (Special Housing Units) is another term for solitary confinement. It isn't a supermax prison. SHU should redirect to the Solitary confinement page, not this supermax page. What do others think?--Davidwiz (talk) 17:11, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikiproject Prisons[edit]

If anyone is interested, I have proposed a new Wikiproject concerning prisons here.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 22:46, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

SHU is definitely a detention term to specify those to be held at a unit 23 hours a day and one hour for yard. The purpose for SHU is to enhance disruptive inmates from creating chaos in the general prison population. However, in the US, those deemed "the worst of the worst" like convicted terrorists, drug lords, serial killers, etc. are put in a facility where the whole prison is actually a "lockdown."

I have also seen the person who wrote this blog to classify the term "supermax" to classify that those on death row as well for those in the US and other countries. This is wrong. Death row inmates that are held in secure units termed as (in the US) death row cells and in certain countries like for eg in Singapore as "condemned cells." Supermax and death row cells have two distinctive purposes, one to hold inmates who are sentenced to death and the other to hold inmates who are not eligible for the death penalty but will be held in secure units for the rest of their life.

A supermax in the US is even higher than a maximum security prison. Inmates in a maximum security prison will have the opportunity to interact and communication amongst inmate is much higher. A supermax is basically a "caged" individual and the inmate's daily hope is his or her opportunity to go out daily and enjoy his or her personal "yard freedom" on his or her own. Consequently the inmate has limited communication and the movements are very much curtailed to a minimum under the watchful eyes of the authorities. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dominicchanwenshun (talkcontribs) 03:26, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

There are no "Supermax" facilities in New York State, as there is no such designation within the Department of Corrections here. However, Upstate and Southport C.F.'s are both exclusively for prisoners serving extended periods of SHU time. While their structure is essentially the same as say, a California Supermax facility, there is not any special prisoner designation required for transfer there. Specifically, instead of requiring a special designation for a prisoner to be transferred there,i.e., "supermaximum" security risk, as would be required for transfer to a medium or maximum security facility, i.e., medium or maximum security risk, any prisoner who has accrued more than a certain amount of SHU or keeplock time is eligible for transfer there. Generally, a SHU or death row within a prison does not mean that the facility is considered supermax. Supermax denotes the security level of the facility as a whole. The SHU has an elevated level of security and is significantly more restrictive of prisoners, but the presence of such a unit does not change the facilities security level. (talk) 16:21, 24 July 2009 (UTC)


Why aren't all prisons supermax facilities? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

The purpose of prison is generally not to bury anyone who ends up there in a lonely concrete box for the rest of their life, although you'd be forgiven for thinking so given the level of public debate about crime. Most prison sentences are not for life, of course, so there is a clear imperative to rehabilitate inmates. The Supermax environment is not exactly tailored to turn those who have fallen into crime into upstanding citizens ready to rejoin society, to put it mildly. Also, it's incredibly expensive to keep someone in Supermax conditions, and security overkill for most prisoners. Old Man of Storr (talk) 03:15, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I expect if you ask most people what they fear most about going to prison, they will not say "having a long period for quiet reflection by myself" they will say assault and abuse from other prisoners. It's interesting that many of those in supermax referenced in this article such as Ted Kaczynski or Richard Reid clearly pose no risk to guards or other inmates, and are kept in these conditions to prevent being the victims of violence as a result of their crimes. And actually, solitary confinement could actually lead to better educational and rehabilitative opportunities e.g. through distance learning, and giving time to reflect on what they have done. So yes, in an ideal world, all prisons would be similar to supermax, but as you point out, it is the cost which is an issue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:58, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually it's now being recognised that solitary confinement effectively amounts to torture. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

US-specific term, confusion with maximum security elsewhere[edit]

Supermax is really US-specific terminology. Most of the substantive content of this article talks about prisons in the USA that operate along Supermax lines, rather than giving an international overview. In many Wikipedia articles this is a problem, but in this case it's justified. While there are parallels in other countries which run prisons with 'above-maximum-security' security they do not necessarily correspond well to the Supermax concept. As a result the list of facilities around the world is a mess. I'm not in a position to comment on all of the countries listed but the UK list is full of straightforward maximum-security prisons like Strangeways. These are not Supermax - the point of Supermax is surely that it goes the extra mile beyond what is conventionally regarded as maximum security. The only possible parallels are the 'prisons-within-a-prison' like the special isolation unit Charles Bronson is confined in. These are distinguishable from conventional maximum security (category A) but are still not the same as Supermax. This article should probably lose the international list except where prisons have been directly based on the US Supermax concept. There could then be a separate article on special confinement facilities for the most dangerous prisoners (a good title is needed), which would discuss Supermax as one national example and cover the other countries' approaches currently lumped in with Supermax in this article's list. Old Man of Storr (talk) 03:15, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

It still seems to be problematic in this regard - accounts of high security in the UK (including the now historical "condemned cells") generally focus on heavy supervision and in some cases frequent cell moves to thwart communication etc, with some specific structures in dealing with cases such as Bronson and Maudsley. This generally relates to sections of larger prisons that include a higher number of relatively low-risk inmates, not a special site as with US supermax. I'd favour going over to more of an explanation of approaches rather than listing the various HMPs as equivalents. One obvious problem with getting sources is that official information is limited rather than give potential escapees too much idea what they'd be up against.Billwilson5060 (talk) 20:46, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Section: Complete list of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions[edit]

I have removed this section and its contents. What is the point? - the supermax facilities in Canada are listed and it should stop at that.--User:Brenont (talk) 20:39, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Russian max-security prisons[edit]

I was under the impression that both Black Dolphin and White Swan prisons are in the European part of Russia? Why are they included in the "Asia" section? (talk) 00:34, 10 September 2012 (UTC)