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FDC Philadelphia
Philadelphia County - Federal Prison - Pennsylvania
Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia

Opened: 2000

Supervised by: David Ortiz

Total inmates: 917

Security: Administrative

Physical Prison Address:


Phone Number: 215-521-4000

Fax Number: 215-521-7220

Email Address: PHL/[email protected]

Prison System: Federal Bureau of Prisons; Northeast Region

Status: Active

Offender Gender: Male and Female

Security Level: Administrative

The proposed construction of Philadelphia FDC caused a significant amount of concern in the community, ranging from the concern that the presence of prisoners would decrease business customers to the idea that a visible prison would serve as a reminder of the disproportionate imprisonment of African America males, disturbing visitors to a nearby black history museum.  The prison was designed to blend into the surroundings and not look like a prison, with an underground tunnel connecting it to the nearby James A. Byrne United States Courthouse, so that inmates could go to court without being seen on the street.   

Philadelphia FCD is a presentencing detention center.  The inmates at the facility are pre-trial detainees, detained during trial, awaiting sentencing, or there to testify in another trial.  Therefore, the inmate population is in constant flux.  Inmates may have committed a variety of crimes and be considered a variety of different security levels.  What may be the most difficult for management is that many of the incoming inmates have not previously been in a correctional setting, making it difficult to assess risk level.    

The prison cells at Philadelphia FDC are 96 square feet.  Each cell has slit windows, a bunk bed, toilet, twin lockers, a writing table, a basin, and drains.  They have a caged recreation are.  The first floor of the building has the main entry, lobby, inmate visitation, administration, control center, and visitor center.  The second floor has the administration, correctional services, receiving and discharge, food services, health services, commissary, and the law library.  Inmate housing begins on the next floor.  Three of them have large general housing units; one has smaller general housing modules; and one has two special housing modules.  Every module has its own exterior recreation area. 

While most of the inmates are at Philadelphia FDC temporarily, they also have cadre inmates at the facility, who are there to handle the jobs that keep the prison running, such as food service and laundry. 

The prison has experienced at least one significant sexual abuse scandal.  Richard Spisak, a senior corrections officer, was convicted of performing a sexual act with an inmate who was under his supervision.  The victim testified that Spisak threatened to falsely report that the inmate had attacked him if the inmate did not perform the act.  At his sentencing hearing, two other inmates reported similar incidents.  The fact that Spisak was tried for this behavior suggests that the prison really does have a no-tolerance policy for sexual predation by guards, but he was still able to victimize several inmates.

As a detention center, programming at Philadelphia FDC is not as complete as one would find at facilities that supervise inmates for longer periods of time.  The facility does emphasize education.  As with other Bureau of Prisons facilities, ESL and GED training are very important at Philadelphia FDC.  Inmates who are non-English speakers are required to participate in ESL programming until they achieve 8th grade proficiency.  Inmates must show proof of a high school diploma or prior GED or participate in GED programming in order to earn Good Time credit or be able to move up pay grades.  Adult continuing education classes and parenting classes are offered at different times throughout the year.  Inmates have access to a law library.  Chaplains are available to help inmates with religious services.  Other recreation includes opportunities to exercise in the yards and access to board games. 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not maintain a prison industries program.  Cadre inmates at Philadelphia FDC are eligible for prison work units, which are described in the prison handbook.   

Philadelphia FDC’s most notable history is linked to the community protesting its placement in Philadelphia’s Center City area.  The prison was intentionally designed not to look like a prison in order to placate some of those concerns.  The construction of the prison to look like a normal office building does not appear to have compromised security; there have not been any successful escape attempts since the prison opened. 

While a number of notable inmates have been processed through Philadelphia FDC, the most famous is probably Kimberly Jones, known more widely by her rap name Little Kim.  She was convicted of perjury and conspiracy after lying to a grand jury about a shooting.

Mailing Address:

P.O. BOX 562

Find an Inmate The Bureau of Prisons maintains an inmate locator service.

Send Money to an Inmate  All money at for prisoners in federal prisons must be processed through a central processing facility in Des Moines. 

Purchase Commissary Items for an Inmate  Prisoners can purchase their own commissary items with funds in their inmate trust accounts; this link will take you to a list of items available in the prison commissary. 

Visit an Inmate  Visitation hours at Philadelphia FDC are among the most liberal of all Bureau of Prison facilities.  Regular visiting hours are: 6:15am-2:30pm Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and holidays.  Because visitation may be restricted for safety and security and inmates who are being disciplined may have limited visitation, visitors can call 215-512-4000 to confirm visiting hours.    

Receive calls from an Inmate  Information on inmate phone calls, including how to get on the phone call list, can be found in the prison’s handbook. Philadelphia FCC uses the ITS system. 

Email an Inmate Inmates in Bureau of Prisons operated facilities have access to Trulincs.


Year Built or Opened: 2000 Warden or Supervisor: David Ortiz Daily Inmate Count: 941 Security Level(s): Administrative

P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Phone Number(s): 215-521-4000
Fax Number: 215-521-7220
Email Address: PHL/[email protected]

700 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Criminal & Traffic Records Search

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