United States Penitentiary, Allenwood

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United States Penitentiary, Allenwood
USP Allenwood.jpg
Location Gregg Township, Union County, near Allenwood, Pennsylvania
Status Operational
Security class High-security
Population 923
Opened 1993
Managed by Federal Bureau of Prisons
Warden Ronnie R. Holt

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 approximately 75 miles (121 km) north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital.[1]

Facility and programs[edit]

USP Allenwood has four housing units of two levels with 16 cells per floor around a central dayroom where inmates can congregate during the times they are allowed outside their cells. 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.[2][3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

The death sentenced 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 life was appropriate sentence 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 counseling them against engaging in criminal conduct.[6]

2005 murder[edit]

On September 28, 2005, USP Allenwood inmates Ritz Williams and Shawn Cooya 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.[7][8]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Aldrich Ames 40087-083 Serving a life sentence.[9] Former CIA counterintelligence officer; pleaded guilty in 1994 to espionage for passing classified information to the Soviet Union and later to Russia over a 9-year period; compromised more American spies than anyone in US history prior to Robert Hanssen.[10]

Organized crime[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Mason, HowardHoward Mason 24651-053 9999-99-99 Serving a life sentence. Convicted in 1989 of racketeering charges in connection with his leadership of "The Bebos," a violent drug gang in Queens, NY; ordered the 1988 murder of New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne.[11]
Louis Daidone 39065-053 Serving a life sentence.[12] Former Acting Boss of the Lucchese Crime Family in New York City; convicted in 2004 of murder, murder conspiracy, racketeering, and loansharking.[13]
Thomas Pitera 29465-053 Serving a life sentence.[14] Former hitman for the Bonanno Crime Family in New York City; convicted in 1992 of murder and murder conspiracy for torturing and murdering six people, as well as racketeering for operating a large drug trafficking operation.[15]


Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Masoud Khan 46810-083 Serving a life sentence.[16] Leader of the Virginia jihad network; convicted in 2004 of seditious conspiracy and other charges for attending a terrorist training camp run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and purchasing weapons in preparation to undertake violent jihad; several co-conspirators were also sentenced to prison.[17][18]

Other crimes[edit]

Inmate Name Register Number Status Details
Mohamud Salad Ali 77992-083 Serving a life sentence.[19] Somali pirate; pleaded guilty in 2011 to piracy in connection with the 2010 hijacking of the civilian yacht Quest, during which four US citizens were killed; Nine other pirates are serving life sentences at other federal facilities.[20][21]
Jorge A. Martinez 39798-060 Serving a life sentence.[22] 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.[23][24]
John Knock 11150-017 Serving a life sentence.[25] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "USP Allenwood". Federal Bureau of Prisons. 
  2. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. p. 375. ISBN 9780761923046. 
  3. ^ Spens, Iona (1994). The Architecture of Incarceration. London: Academy Editions. p. 128. ISBN 9781854903587. 
  4. ^ Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. p. 375. ISBN 9780761923046. 
  5. ^ "DAVID PAUL HAMMER, PETITIONER V. JOHN D. ASHCROFT, ET AL.". US Department of Justice. 
  6. ^ Beauge, John (July 17, 2014). "Admitted murderer of Allenwood cell mate no longer facing execution". Penn Live. PA Media Group. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Walker, R.A. (February 15, 2008). "Two indicted for 2005 killing at Allenwood prison complex". Williamsport Sun-Gazette (PA). Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pennsylvania Inmate Sentenced To Life In Prison For Violent Murder Of Fellow Inmate". US Department of Justice. May 15, 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Spy Files Motion to Alter Guilty Plea". Los Angeles Times. September 15, 1999. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Johnston, David (April 29, 1994). "Spy Voices Shame and Defiance Before Receiving a Life Sentence". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1994-01-09). "Drug Dealer Is Sentenced to Life For Ordering Killing of Officer". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "The Quick 10: 10 Intriguing Mobster Nicknames". mental_floss. 2015 Mental Floss, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Preston, Julia (July 1, 2004). "Metro Briefing | New York: Manhattan: Mob Chief Sentenced". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Tommy Pitera". bio. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Lubasch, Anthony (July 2, 1992). "Federal Jurors Considering Death Penalty for Mobster". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ "SEARCHING FOR JUSTICE Contact". Free Masoud Khan. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "'Paintball Terrorists' Convicted of Conspiracy". FoxNews.com. March 4, 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Associated Press (June 15, 2004). "http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-06-15-virginia-jihad-sentence_x.htm". USA Today. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Dries, Bill (September 12, 2013). "Petties Moved to Pennsylvania Prison". The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  20. ^ Nasaw, Daniel (October 3, 2011). "Somali pirates face hard time in US prison". BBC News. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "Two More Somalis Plead Guilty To Charges Relating To Piracy Of Quest". US Department of Justice. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "JORGE A. MARTINEZ, Petitioner, v. WARDEN L. U. ODDO, Respondent.". Leagle. 2015 Leagle, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "Financial Crimes Report to the Public - Fiscal Year 2006". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "American Greed: Medical Scams: Dr. Martinez". CNBC. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Miller, Joshua Rhett (December 13, 2013). "Growing acceptance of marijuana no help to pot convicts serving life in the joint". Fox News. 2015 FOX News Network, LLC. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 

External links[edit]

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