Resource: How America’s Most Famous Federal Prison Faced a Dirty Secret

By: Andrew Cohen

December 5, 2016

The Marshall Project

The mentally ill in federal prisons are on the verge of a big victory. For many years the most famous federal prison in America, the “Supermax” facility in Florence, Colorado, held a dirty secret: even though it was not permitted by law to house mentally ill prisoners, many of the men locked down in “administrative segregation” there were, in fact, severely mentally ill. Most of those prisoners were misdiagnosed when they arrived and then were mistreated or simply not treated at all for their medical conditions. As their health worsened they committed disciplinary infractions, which in turn put them into more restrictive conditions of confinement, which exacerbated their mental illness.