United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy
|Location||Martin County, near Inez, Kentucky, United States|
|Security class||High-security (with minimum-security prison camp)|
|Population||1,467 (97 in prison camp)|
|Managed by||Federal Bureau of Prisons|
|Warden||Gregory A. Kizziah|
The United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy (USP Big Sandy) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates in Kentucky, near Inez. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility also has a satellite prison camp which houses minimum-security male inmates.
USP Big Sandy is known for housing multiple high-profile inmates. The facility houses a large number of people who were convicted of crimes in Washington, D.C. due to the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, which gave the Federal Bureau of Prisons custody of sentenced DC felons. As of 2013 up to about 33% had been convicted of DC crimes. Additionally, many federal inmates are sent there because they have been convicted of violent crimes and are now serving long sentences.
Numerous violent incidents, mostly stabbings, have occurred at USP Big Sandy since it opened in 2003.
In October 2006, USP Big Sandy inmate Terrell Johnson, 33, who was serving a sentence for armed bank robbery, killed inmate Calvin Speight by stabbing him in the neck with a prison-made weapon known as a shank. Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge of second degree murder in August 2008 and was sentenced to 26 additional years in prison in 2009. Johnson is currently being held at ADX Florence, the federal supermax prison in Colorado. He is scheduled for release in 2035.
On November 12, 2006, inmates Darryl Milburne and Dwaune Gravely beat and choked fellow inmate Shamoni Peterson to death. Milburne and Gravely were charged with murder, assault, and evidence tampering. Both were transferred to ADX Florence, the supermax prison in Colorado which holds the most dangerous male inmates in the federal prison system.
On November 4, 2007, USP Big Sandy inmate Eric Eymard repeatedly stabbed his cellmate in the neck with a prison-made weapon known as a "shank." After the assault, Eymard told correctional officers that he had intended to kill his cellmate, who required surgery and hospitalization. On May 21, 2009, while being prepared for transportation from USP Big Sandy to a hearing in Federal District Court in Ashland, Kentucky, Eymard stabbed two correctional officers with a sharp weapon which he had shaped from plexiglas. As a result of Eymard's attack, one officer was left with cuts to his head and face and the other suffered a puncture wound under his left eye. Eymard subsequently pleaded guilty in connection with both incidents and was sentenced to 45 years in prison, which a federal judge ordered him to serve consecutively to his original sentence.
In early 2008, inmate Steven Michael Reid threw scalding water on a prison unit manager's face and neck. As a result of Reid's assault, the unit manager suffered first and second degree burns to the face, neck, and chest. Reid was sentenced to 20 additional years in prison in February 2009.
Inmate Adam Oliveri stabbed a correctional officer in the head, back, and arm with a prison-made weapon on October 21, 2008, causing the officer to suffer from several injuries. Oliveri was convicted after a three-day trial in 2010 and sentenced to an additional 17 years in prison. His release date was extended to 2029.
On December 10, 2008, inmate Manuel Cardosa attacked a fellow inmate from behind as the inmate walked in a prison housing unit. Cardosa knocked the victim inmate to the floor and repeatedly jumped with both feet on his victim inmate's head, causing the victim inmate to suffer permanent and life-threatening injuries. Cardosa was sentenced to 8 additional years in prison on October 5, 2009.
John Travis Millner allegedly stabbed fellow inmate Vincent Earl Smith, Jr. at USP Big Sandy with a prison-made ice pick before strangling him to death in January 2009. Details of what sparked the conflict between the two men, both from Washington, DC, are sketchy in court records. Millner, who is already serving a life sentence for shooting a person using a high-powered rifle, has pleaded not guilty. The Department of Justice is considering pursuing the death penalty.
Steven Michael Reid, who had been sentenced to 20 years in connection with a 2008 assault on staff, stabbed a correctional officer in the stomach on June 24, 2010 with a two-foot long spear-type object made of two rolled up magazines and a sharpened piece of plexiglas. Reid had coated the tip of the weapon with feces. In January 2010, Reid was sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison. Reid was subsequently transferred to Florence ADX, the federal supermax prison, and is scheduled for release in 2049.
Notable inmates (current and former)
|Inmate Name||Register Number||Status||Details|
|Mainer||B1178027||Serving a 97-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2091.||Son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor; convicted in 2008 of crimes related to the torture of his father's political and military opponents in Liberia between 1999 and 2003; the first prosecution of a US citizen for committing acts of torture outside the US.|
|Basciano, VincentVincent Basciano||30694-054||Serving 2 life sentences.||Served as Acting Boss of the Bonanno Crime Family in 2004 after Boss Joseph Massino was arrested; convicted in 2006 of murder, conspiracy and racketeering; convicted in 2011 of ordering the 2004 murder of Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo.|
- "USP Big Sandy". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. "USP Big Sandy is located in eastern Kentucky approximately 133 miles from Frankfort, 140 miles from Lexington, and 321 miles from Washington, DC."
- Ellis, Alan and J. Michael Henderson. Federal Prison Guidebook. James Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0966443624, 9780966443622. p. 220.
- Associated Press (September 14, 2013). "Feds May Seek Death Sentence In Ky. Inmate Slaying". CBS Local (Cleveland). Retrieved 18 November 2013. (Archive) "Big Sandy is known for housing high-profile inmates. And because the federal Bureau of Prisons automatically takes custody of people convicted in Washington, at any time, up to a third of the facility's 1,445 inmates were convicted in the city. Additionally, many inmates are sent there because of violent crimes or with long sentences, Golden said."
- "Former Inmate Sentenced for Murder of Another Inmate". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Inmate Locator: Terrell L. Johnson". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Philadelphia and New Jersey Residents Indicted for Murder". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Inmate Locator: Dwaune Gravely". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Inmate Locator: Darryl Marcus Milburne". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Former USP Big Sandy Inmate Sentenced 45 Years for Assault with Intent to Murder Inmate and Other Charges". Federal Bureau of Investigation. August 19, 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Former USP Big Sandy Inmate Sentenced to 20 Years for Assault of a Federal Officer". Federal Bureau of Investigation. February 25, 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Big Sandy Inmate Sentenced to 17.5 Years for Assaulting a Federal Corrections Officer". Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 2, 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Inmate Locator: Register # 50045-054". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Big Sandy Inmate Gets More Than Eight Years in Prison for Violent Assault". Federal Bureau of Investigation. October 6, 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Associated Press (September 14, 2013). "Feds May Seek Death Sentence In Ky. Inmate Slaying". CBS Local (Cleveland). Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Clark, Ashlee (January 7, 2010). "Big Sandy inmate sentenced for stabbing officer with feces-covered weapon". kentucky.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Inmate Locator: Register # 11728-018". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Associated Press (February 11, 2009). "Ex-Liberian Head's Son Indicted On Torture". CBS News. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Roy Belfast, Jr., A/K/A Chuckie Taylor, Sentenced on Torture Charges". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Ex-Liberian dictator Charles Taylor's son sentenced to 97 years in US jail". Telegraph Media Group (UK). January 9, 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Marzulli, John (August 24, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: Mobster Vinny Gorgeous rewarded with move from Colorado Supermax". New York Daily News. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Rashbaum, William K. (2006-05-10). "Former Salon Owner Is Convicted of Racketeering, but Not Murder". The New York Times.
- O'Connor, Anahad (2011-06-01). "Vincent Basciano Sentenced to Life, Not Death". The New York Times.