United States Penitentiary, Allenwood

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United States Penitentiary, Allenwood
USP Allenwood.jpg
LocationGregg Township, Union County, near Allenwood, Pennsylvania
Security classHigh security
Population618 (as of April 2022)
Managed byFederal Bureau of Prisons
WardenHerman Quay

The United States Penitentiary, Allenwood (USP Allenwood) is a high security United States federal prison in Pennsylvania. It is part of the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex (FCC Allenwood) and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

FCC Allenwood is located on US Route 15 in Gregg Township, Union County,[1] near White Deer. It is approximately halfway between the cities of Williamsport and Lewisburg and approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital.[2]

Facility and programs[edit]

USP Allenwood has four two-level housing units each of which consists of four 16-cell ranges around a central dayroom where inmates can congregate during the times they are allowed outside their cells. Most cells house two inmates each. Recreational and counseling facilities are located adjacent to the housing units. The outer perimeter is secured by a double line of fencing with rolled barbed wire on the ground in between the fences. The inner fence is equipped with a perimeter intrusion detection system and a road for patrol vehicles runs along the outer fence. Correction officers man six guard towers at each corner of the security fence and a seventh within the fence.[3][4]

Educational programs include GED, ESL, adult continuing education, vocational training, correspondence classes, and evening college classes. Inmates work in a UNICOR upholstery factory and institutional maintenance jobs such as food service and building repair. Medical, psychological and drug treatment services are also available.[5]

Notable incidents[edit]

1996 murder[edit]

In April 1996, USP Allenwood inmate David Paul Hammer strangled fellow inmate Andrew Hunt Marti to death with a piece of homemade cord. Hammer and Marti were cellmates in the Special Housing Unit, where especially violent inmates are held. Writing on a website dedicated to his case in 2001, Hammer could not ‘attribute any motive’ to his actions. Hammer, a career criminal who was serving a 1,200-year sentence for crimes including larceny, shooting with intent to kill, kidnapping and making bomb threats, subsequently pleaded guilty to Marti's murder and was sentenced to death.[6]

The death sentence was vacated in 2006 after a federal judge found that prosecutors withheld evidence during the penalty phase that would have bolstered Hammer's claim that he and Marti were having consensual sex. In July 2014, another federal judge concurred, ruling that a life sentence was appropriate based upon multiple circumstances, including Hammer's acceptance of responsibility and remorsefulness, his extended family history of dysfunction, abuse and mental illness, his mental and emotional impairments and his self-improvement, specifically citing Hammer's writing to at-risk children and counseling them against engaging in criminal conduct.[7]

2005 murder[edit]

On September 28, 2005, USP Allenwood inmates Ritz Williams (47085-008) and Shawn Cooya (48896-008) stabbed a fellow inmate, 50-year-old Alvin Allery, ten times with a homemade knife and repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso, causing Allery's death. Williams and Cooya were already serving lengthy sentences, Williams for murder and Cooya for weapons violations. A subsequent investigation revealed that Williams and Cooya planned the attack in advance. In 2013, Williams and Cooya pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison.[8][9] As of March 2022, Williams is currently incarcerated at USP Atwater and Cooya at USP Florence ADMAX.

2020 attack[edit]

On December 7, 2020, two correctional officers were injured after one was stabbed in the neck and eye by convicted Canadian terrorist, Abdulrahman el Bahnasawy (75868-054). Both officers were taken via ambulance to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Both guards survived, with one losing an eye.[10][11][12] El Bahnasawy was transferred to USP Lewisburg.[13] In April 2021, el Bahnasawy was transferred from Lewisburg to ADX Florence.

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]

Organized crime[edit]

All are serving life sentences.

Inmate Name Register Number Details
Howard Mason 24651-053 Convicted in 1989 of racketeering charges in connection with his leadership of "The Bebos," a violent drug gang in Queens, New York; ordered the 1988 murder of New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne.[14]
Louis Daidone 39065-053[15] Former Acting Boss of the Lucchese Crime Family in New York City; convicted in 2004 of murder, murder conspiracy, racketeering, and loansharking.[16]

Other crimes[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Mohamud Salad Ali 77992-083 Now at USP Lee.[17] Somali pirate leader; pleaded guilty in 2011 to piracy in connection with the 2011 hijacking of the civilian yacht Quest, during which four US citizens were killed; Nine other pirates are serving life sentences at other federal facilities.[18][19]
James Eagan Holmes 02350-122 Serving 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years without parole. Mass murderer responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting in which he killed 12 people and injured 70 others (62 directly and eight indirectly) at a Century 16 movie theater on July 20, 2012.
Esteban Santiago-Ruiz 15500-104 Schizophrenic serving five life sentences plus 120 years. Transferred to USP Tucson. Mass murderer pleaded guilty to the 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting.
Jorge A. Martinez 39798-060 Serving a life sentence.[20] Physician; convicted in 2006 of submitting $60 million in claims for unnecessary procedures in the first prosecution in US history involving a charge of health care fraud resulting in death; the story was featured on the CNBC television program American Greed.[21][22]
John Knock 11150-017 Released in January 2021 after President Donald Trump commuted his life sentence. Convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy in 2000 for attempting to orchestrate the importation of thousands of tons of marijuana into the US from Pakistan and Lebanon; received the longest sentence for a nonviolent marijuana crime in US history.
Auburn Calloway 14601-076 Serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Flight engineer, convicted of attempted aircraft piracy interference with flight crew members in the attempted hijacking of a Federal Express McDonnell Douglas DC-10 flight from Memphis, Tennessee to San Jose, California. The flight crew managed to land the aircraft safely back at Memphis.


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
El Sayyid Nosair 35074-054 Serving a life sentence. Transferred to USP Big Sandy. Egyptian-born American citizen, convicted of involvement in the 1993 New York City landmark bomb plot. He had earlier been tried for, but acquitted of, the 1990 New York City assassination of Meir Kahane, a Jewish religious figure and far-right Israeli politician. He later admitted to have committed this assassination as well.
Ahmed Ajaj 40637-053 Serving a 114-year sentence scheduled for release in 2091. Now at USP Coleman Convicted of participating in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
James Alex Fields Jr. 22239-084 Serving a life sentence. Now at MCFP Springfield. White supremacist, pleaded guilty in 2019 of 29 federal hate crime charges using his car to harm counter-protestors during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring up to 19 more. Transferred to Allenwood from USP Hazleton in November 2020.
Paul Anthony Ciancia 67089-112 Serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole plus 60 years. Pleaded guilty in 2016 for the 2013 LAX Shooting

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Gregg township, PA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2022-08-14. Allenwood Federal Correctional Complx
  2. ^ "USP Allenwood". Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  3. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. pp. 375. ISBN 9780761923046.
  4. ^ Spens, Iona (1994). The Architecture of Incarceration. London: Academy Editions. p. 128. ISBN 9781854903587.
  5. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. pp. 375. ISBN 9780761923046.
  7. ^ Beauge, John (July 17, 2014). "Admitted murderer of Allenwood cell mate no longer facing execution". Penn Live. PA Media Group. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  8. ^ Walker, R.A. (February 15, 2008). "Two indicted for 2005 killing at Allenwood prison complex". Williamsport Sun-Gazette (PA). Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Pennsylvania Inmate Sentenced To Life In Prison For Violent Murder Of Fellow Inmate". US Department of Justice. May 15, 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Injured Allenwood prison guard to observe a belated Christmas with his family". 2021-01-14.
  11. ^ Farenish, Melissa. "Corrections officer at Allenwood federal prison in critical condition after inmate stabbed him in eye". NorthcentralPA.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  12. ^ "Inmate accused of attacking prison staff in Union County". wnep.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  13. ^ "It's 'like an attack on all us,' union official says about stabbing of veteran prison guard, HS coach".
  14. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1994-01-09). "Drug Dealer Is Sentenced to Life For Ordering Killing of Officer". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "The Quick 10: 10 Intriguing Mobster Nicknames". mental_floss. 2015 Mental Floss, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  16. ^ Preston, Julia (July 1, 2004). "Metro Briefing | New York: Manhattan: Mob Chief Sentenced". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Dries, Bill (September 12, 2013). "Petties Moved to Pennsylvania Prison". The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  18. ^ Nasaw, Daniel (October 3, 2011). "Somali pirates face hard time in US prison". BBC News. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Two More Somalis Plead Guilty To Charges Relating To Piracy Of Quest". US Department of Justice. 25 May 2011. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  20. ^ "JORGE A. MARTINEZ, Petitioner, v. WARDEN L. U. ODDO, Respondent". Leagle. 2015 Leagle, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Financial Crimes Report to the Public - Fiscal Year 2006". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  22. ^ "American Greed: Medical Scams: Dr. Martinez". CNBC. Retrieved 12 October 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°07′52″N 76°55′37″W / 41.131°N 76.927°W / 41.131; -76.927