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USP Tucson
Pima County - Federal Prison - Arizona
United States Penitentiary Tucson

Prison System: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Western Region

Status: Active since 2006

Prisoner Email: USP Tucson allows prisoners to use the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System as  ameans to communicate with people on an approved contact list.  Once added to a contact list, a person will receive an email with a link to the CorrLink Inmate Email System, which will permit email contact with the prisoner.  All emails are monitored.

Offender Gender: Male

Security Level: High Security with a Minimum Security Satellite Camp

Distinguishing Feature: USP Tucson is one of the newest prisons in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Number of Inmates: 1,654; 1,516 at the prison and 138 at the satellite camp.

Part of the Tucson Correctional Complex, USP Tucson was built to help deal with prison overpopulation in the Western region of the United States.   

The population at USP Tucson is subject to constant flux because of how the Bureau of Prisons determines federal prison populations.  The primary considerations are an inmate’s security level and supervision requirements.  The Bureau of Prisons also considers an inmate’s medical classification and inmate program needs.  When possible, inmates are placed with 500 feet of their stated address at release.  What this means is that inmates may come from all over the country and that the mix of inmates is constantly changing.  Moreover, an inmate may be moved to a different facility for administrative reasons.  USP Tucson is one of several federal penitentiaries that are part of the Sex Offender Management Program; therefore, its population has a higher percentage of sex offenders than one would find in prisons that are not part of the Sex Offender Management Program.  Inmates who are assigned to this program have committed a wide-variety of sex-based offenses, and may range from first-time offenders who are considered at moderate risk of recidivism to severe sex crime offenders.

One thing that differentiates federal prisons from most prison sentences is the lack of parole.  Prisoners sentenced after November 1, 1987 can earn credit for “good time,” but are ineligible for parole under the terms of the Sentencing Reform Act.  This provision can make it much easier for prison officials to determine both short-term and long-term incarceration needs at each facility.   

At USP Tucson, inmates are divided into housing units.  Those housing units not only contain the living facilities for the inmates, but also the office space for the unit staff that is charge of the inmates.  The units are then broken down into smaller unit teams.  The unit teams are responsible for resolving issues before they can become major problems.  The unit staff includes: a unit manager, the inmates’ case managers, a correctional counselor, and a unit secretary.  In addition, the staff psychologist, education advisor, and unit officer are considered parts of the unit teams. 

Because USP Tucson is newer than many other prisons, it does not share some of the same problems one finds in older facilities, such as vermin infestations, mold, crumbling facilities, or similar problems.  However, the prison is still a dangerous one.  Prisoners manage to receive a significant amount of contraband, and homemade weapons, such as shanks, are prevalent in the prison population.  The prison has had to be in lockdown status after large multi-prisoner fights with these weapons.  However, prisoners report that the food is good, the guards seem to treat most of them decently, and they have access to recreational facilities. 


USP Tucson has a variety of prison programs including educational opportunities, recreational activities, and sports.  Its most notable prison program is the Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP).  Established in 2004, the SOMP was developed to try to treat sex offenders and reduce their risk of recidivism.  Assignment to the SOMP is not voluntary; prisoners are assigned to it based on their crime, which, in turn, determines whether the inmate has been assigned the Public Safety Factor of Sex Offender pursuant to Bureau of Prison Programs Statement 5100.07.  SOMP participants are evaluated based on their levels of denial and likelihood of participation, and assigned to the appropriate groups.  To qualify for the SOMP program, inmates must be low or medium security risks.  The SOMP has four components: psychosexual assessment that includes a risk assessment, management, treatment, and community release planning.  Even inmates who are not residents in the SOMP may be eligible for non-residential treatment.  While SOMP classification is mandatory, some components require inmate participation.  Inmates who fail to participate can lose the ability to make more than the minimum inmate wage for any pay completed and will be assigned to the least desirable housing

USP is a relatively new facility with very little history.  It was built in 2005 as part of the larger Tucson Correctional Complex and was ready to receive prisoners in 2006.  The Tucson area community has experienced a shortage of correctional officers as a result of USP Tucson being built, and has also expressed concerns about the penitentiary’s SOMP.

U.S. Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham served at USP Tucson after being convicted of accepting bribes; while there he began a program to help other prisoners get their GEDs.  Former NYPD detective Louis Eppolito is serving time there after being convicted of murders and sharing law enforcement information with members of the Gambino Crime Family.  Former U.S. Army Private Steve Dale Green is there for raping and murdering a child and then killing her family, while he was in Iraq.  Brian David Mitchell, who abducted Elizabeth Smart, is serving his time at USP Tucson.  Perhaps the most notorious prisoner there is a sex-based offender; Edward Oedewaldt, the systems administrator for an internet child pornography ring that was brought down in the nation’s largest child pornography sting. 

To locate an inmate that is serving time at Tucson, click here.

For visiting information at Tucson, click here.


Year Built or Opened: 2007 Warden or Supervisor: Louis Winn Daily Inmate Count: 1654 Security Level(s): High

Inmate Name & Register Number
USP Tucson
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Phone Number(s): 520-663-5000
Fax Number: 520-663-5024
Email Address: TCP/[email protected]

9300 South Wilmot Road
Tucson, Arizona 85756

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