On July 13, the United States Penitentiary (USP) Terre Haute, Indiana, opened a Special
Confinement Unit to provide humane, safe, and secure confinement of male offenders who have been
sentenced to death by the Federal courts. As a result of this action, this week, inmates with
Federal death sentences have been transferred from other Federal and State correctional facilities
to USP Terre Haute for placement in this Special Confinement Unit.
Based on the increasing number of Federal death penalty cases throughout the country, opening the
Special Confinement Unit at USP Terre Haute has become necessary to implement Federal death
sentences under applicable Federal statutes and regulations. This unit will be managed in a manner
consistent with Bureau of Prisons' policies and procedures. The staff who work in this unit have
received specialized training for managing this type of special offender.
The physical design of this two-story renovated housing unit includes 50 single-cells, upper tier
and lower tier corridors, an industrial work shop, indoor and outdoor recreation areas, a property
room, a food preparation area, attorney and family visiting rooms, and a video-teleconferencing area
that is used to facilitate inmate access to the courts and their attorneys.
The Special Confinement Unit operations ensure inmates are afforded routine institution services
and programs such as work programs, visitation, commissary privileges, telephone access, and law
On July 19, 1993, USP Terre Haute was designated as the site by the Bureau of Prisons where
implementation of the Federal death penalty would occur, including the establishment of a Special
Confinement Unit for Federal death penalty cases. In 1995-96, the facility was modified to
accommodate this responsibility. Prior to housing special confinement cases, this unit was used to
house Cuban detainees.
USP Terre Haute was constructed in 1940. The grounds of USP Terre Haute cover 33 acres enclosed
by a secure perimeter double fence. Today, USP Terre Haute is one of nine Federal high-security
prisons which confine the Bureau's most dangerous offenders. Adjacent to the USP Terre Haute is
a minimum-security camp for male offenders. USP Terre Haute's inmate population is currently 1,070;
it has a rated capacity of 741. The minimum-security facility inmate population is 307; it has a
rated capacity of 340.