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Alderson Federal Prison Camp

Alderson Federal Prison Camp

Overview
Alderson Federal Prison Camp, also known as Federal Prison Camp, Alderson or FPC Alderson, is a Federal Bureau of Prisons
Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is a federal law enforcement agency subdivision of the United States Department of Justice and is responsible for the administration of the federal prison system. The system also handles prisoners who committed acts considered felonies under the District of Columbia's...

 minimum security prison for women
Incarceration of women
This article discusses the incarceration of women in correctional facilities.-History:In the United States, authorities began housing women in correctional facilities separate from men in the 1870s...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 Monroe County
Monroe County, West Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,583 people, 5,447 households, and 3,883 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 people per square mile . There were 7,267 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile...

 and Summers County
Summers County, West Virginia
Summers County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,927. Its county seat is Hinton. Summers County was created by an act of the West Virginia General Assembly on February 27, 1871 from parts of Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe...

 in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

. Alderson, West Virginia, was chosen as the site for the first federal prison for women and the facility opened on November 14, 1928.

The prison camp has a population of around 1,050. The prison is 270 miles (434.5 km) southwest of Washington, DC.
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Encyclopedia
Alderson Federal Prison Camp, also known as Federal Prison Camp, Alderson or FPC Alderson, is a Federal Bureau of Prisons
Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is a federal law enforcement agency subdivision of the United States Department of Justice and is responsible for the administration of the federal prison system. The system also handles prisoners who committed acts considered felonies under the District of Columbia's...

 minimum security prison for women
Incarceration of women
This article discusses the incarceration of women in correctional facilities.-History:In the United States, authorities began housing women in correctional facilities separate from men in the 1870s...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 Monroe County
Monroe County, West Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,583 people, 5,447 households, and 3,883 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 people per square mile . There were 7,267 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile...

 and Summers County
Summers County, West Virginia
Summers County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,927. Its county seat is Hinton. Summers County was created by an act of the West Virginia General Assembly on February 27, 1871 from parts of Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe...

 in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

. Alderson, West Virginia, was chosen as the site for the first federal prison for women and the facility opened on November 14, 1928.

The prison camp has a population of around 1,050. The prison is 270 miles (434.5 km) southwest of Washington, DC. The 159 acres (64.3 ha) facility is the largest employer in the Alderson, West Virginia
Alderson, West Virginia
Alderson, a town in the US State of West Virginia, is split geographically by the Greenbrier River, with portions in both Greenbrier and Monroe Counties. Although split physically by the river, the town functions as one entity, including that of town government...

 area.

History



Federal prisons for women lagged behind the facilities for males. Women offenders either were given alternative punishments or were housed alone within all-male institutions. Prison staff and fellow inmates sexually exploited girls and women who were incarcerated in these facilities.

Mabel Walker Willebrandt
Mabel Walker Willebrandt
Mabel Walker Willebrandt , popularly known to her contemporaries as the "First Lady of Law", was the U.S. Assistant Attorney General from 1921 to 1929, handling cases concerning violations of the Volstead Act, federal taxation, and the Bureau of Federal Prisons during the Prohibition Era.-Early...

, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General
United States Assistant Attorney General
Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice are headed by an Assistant Attorney General.The President of the United States appoints individuals to the position of Assistant Attorney General with the advice and consent of the Senate...

, first encouraged establishment of a facility for women. FPC Alderson, which opened in 1927, was the first federal women's prison in the United States. It was opened during a reform movement in the 1920s to help reform female offenders.

The first warden, Mary B. Harris, was chosen by Mabel Willebrandt.
Despite later bureau mythology that Alderson opened its doors with moonshining
Moonshine
Moonshine is an illegally produced distilled beverage...

 women from the hills of West Virginia, 174 women had been sent to the facility in the first year of operation before its formal November 14, 1928, opening.

Serving as a model for prison reform at the time, it was styled after a boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

 offering education with no armed guards. The facility followed a reformatory model with no fenced grounds. The prison consisted of primarily work-oriented facilities designed for minor federal offenders. It originally consisted of fourteen cottage
Cottage
__toc__In modern usage, a cottage is usually a modest, often cozy dwelling, typically in a rural or semi-rural location. However there are cottage-style dwellings in cities, and in places such as Canada the term exists with no connotations of size at all...

s built in a horseshoe
Horseshoe
A horseshoe, is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse's hoof from wear and tear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall...

 pattern on two-tiered slopes. The offenders segregated by race in the cottages and each building contained a kitchen and rooms for about thirty women. The vast majority of the women were imprisoned for drug and alcohol charges imposed during the Prohibition era.

The prison



The prison is located in two West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 counties, near the town of Alderson
Alderson, West Virginia
Alderson, a town in the US State of West Virginia, is split geographically by the Greenbrier River, with portions in both Greenbrier and Monroe Counties. Although split physically by the river, the town functions as one entity, including that of town government...

. A portion of the prison is located in unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 Monroe County
Monroe County, West Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,583 people, 5,447 households, and 3,883 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 people per square mile . There were 7,267 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile...

, while the other portion of the prison, including the dormitories, lies in unincorporated Summers County
Summers County, West Virginia
Summers County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,927. Its county seat is Hinton. Summers County was created by an act of the West Virginia General Assembly on February 27, 1871 from parts of Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer and Monroe...

. Four other area towns, Hinton
Hinton, West Virginia
Hinton is a city in Summers County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,880 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Summers County. Hinton was established in 1873 and chartered in 1897. Hinton was named for John "Jack" Hinton, a prominent lawyer of Summers County and husband of...

, Lewisburg
Lewisburg, West Virginia
Lewisburg is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,830 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Greenbrier County.-Geography:Lewisburg is located at ....

, Ronceverte
Ronceverte, West Virginia
Ronceverte is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, on the Greenbrier River. The population was 1,557 at the 2000 census.- Culture and History :...

, and White Sulphur Springs
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
White Sulphur Springs is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,444 at the 2010 census.-Geography:White Sulphur Springs is located at ....

 are within commuting distance to FPC Alderson.

While there is no barbed wire on the fence surrounding the camp, the prisoners have schedules and each one must work. Inmates get holidays off except those who work in the powerhouse and kitchen. From its beginning, Alderson's staff members have maintained a focus on vocational training and personal growth experiences, with craft-shop activities an integral part of vocational training. Free time is spent walking around the sidewalk that is set between the two dorms as this is within bounds for the inmates. Since 2004 inmates are no longer free to roam the entire campus and are restricted in areas of the prison. They also play volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

.

Most of the inmates at FPC Alderson have been convicted of non-violent or white-collar crime
White-collar crime
Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" . Sutherland was a proponent of Symbolic Interactionism, and believed that criminal behavior was...

. Many are in the drug program and have come from other prisons to attend the program at Alderson. They sleep in bunk bed
Bunk bed
A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another. The nature of bunk beds allows two people to sleep in the same room while maximizing available floor space...

s in two large dormitories. The dormitories hold 500 plus inmates a piece. Each inmate sleeps in a 5 by 9 ft (1.5 by 2.7 m) cinderblock cube inside of this open dormitory.

The prison is nicknamed "Camp Cupcake
Cupcake
A cupcake is a small cake designed to serve one person, frequently baked in a small, thin paper or aluminum cup...

" by most residents and the media. Local residents have also referred to it as "the college campus." It was called "Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

" by one-time attendee Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising...

. By 2004, according to Alexandra Marks of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

the operating model for Alderson "follows a punitive rather than a rehabilitative model".

John Benish, the former co-manager of the Alderson Hospitality House, a hospitality establishment where families of Alderson inmates stay, said that FPC Alderson is "built like a college campus. There is lot of property, a lot of greenery and there is no barbed wire
Barbed wire
Barbed wire, also known as barb wire , is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand. It is used to construct inexpensive fences and is used atop walls surrounding secured property...

 around." The Alderson facility includes one dormitory with 500 inmates and several small cottages holding other inmates. Inmates live in two person cubicles instead of traditional barred prison cells.

As of 2004 most prisoners at Alderson were convicted of recreational drug-related offenses. Esther Heffernan, a sociology professor at Edgewood College
Edgewood College
Edgewood College is a Dominican Catholic liberal arts college in Madison, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Madison. Overlooking the shores of Lake Wingra, it occupies on Madison's near west side....

, said that throughout history the inmates included "relatives of famous mobsters and grandmotherly women who embezzled money from banks. You've had a real mixture." Hefferman added that in Alderson, which was a "not undesirable" place to be confined, the isolation from urban life could be stressful for inmates. She said that the inmates, "Coming from the streets of New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and D.C.," were awakened at night by crickets and frogs. Prisoners are not permitted to patronize Alderson, West Virginia area businesses.

The facility allows weekend visits, but special hours are available for holidays. In prior years the families of inmates were allowed past visiting rooms only on Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving (United States)
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday,...

 when they they could also share in a holiday feast for $1.75.

Notable inmates

Name Number Status Details
Monica Conyers Held in FPC, Alderson Former Detroit City Council member and the wife of U.S. Congressman John Conyers
John Conyers
John Conyers, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1965 . He is a member of the Democratic Party...

.
Lolita Lebrón
Lolita Lebrón
Dolores "Lolita" Lebrón Sotomayor was a Puerto Rican nationalist who wasconvicted of attempted murder and other crimes after leading an assault on the United States House of Representatives in 1954,...

imprisoned 1954–1979 Attack the United States House of Representatives in 1954.
Velvalee Dickinson
Velvalee Dickinson
Velvalee Dickinson , was convicted of espionage against the United States on behalf of Japan during World War II. Known as the "Doll Woman", she used her business in New York City to send information on U.S. Naval forces to contacts in South America via steganographic messages...

imprisoned 1944–1951 American convicted of espionage against the United States on behalf of Japan.
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme
Lynette Fromme
Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme is an American member of the Manson Family. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975...

Held in FPC, Alderson Member of the Manson Family
Charles Manson
Charles Milles Manson is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Tate/LaBianca murders carried out by members of the group at his instruction...

. Attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 in 1975.
Sandra Good
Sandra Good
Sandra Collins Good a long-time member of the Manson Family and a close friend of Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. Good's Manson Family nickname is "Blue," given to her by Charles Manson because of her blue eyes....

imprisoned 1980–85 A long-time member of the Manson Family
Charles Manson
Charles Milles Manson is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Tate/LaBianca murders carried out by members of the group at his instruction...

.
Iva Toguri D'Aquino
Iva Toguri D'Aquino
Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino , was an American citizen who participated in English-language propaganda broadcast transmitted by Radio Tokyo to Allied soldiers in the South Pacific during World War II...

 (aka Tokyo Rose
Tokyo Rose
Tokyo Rose was a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. The intent of these broadcasts was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast...

)
Held in FPC, Alderson American citizen who participated in English-language propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 broadcast transmitted by Radio Tokyo to Allied soldiers in the South Pacific during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.
Mildred Gillars (aka Axis Sally) imprisoned 1950–56 American who supplied propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World . Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a visible proponent of women's rights, birth control, and women's suffrage...

imprisoned 1955–57 American leftist leader and co-founder of American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 (ACLU), a Smith Act
Smith Act
The Alien Registration Act or Smith Act of 1940 is a United States federal statute that set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S...

 political prisoner
Claudia Jones
Claudia Jones
Claudia Cumberbatch Jones was a Trinidadian journalist, who applied her skills to becoming a political activist and black nationalist through Communisum....

imprisoned 1955–57 Trinidadian-born child-immigrant journalist and National Executive member of the Communist Party of the United States, a Smith Act political prisoner. After release, deported to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, founded the Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event which since 1964 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea , London, UK each August, over two days...

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

imprisoned 1947-48 American jazz singer and songwriter arrested for possession of narcotics on May 19, 1947 and sentenced to serve a year and a day, but released for good behavior on March 16, 1948.
Sara Jane Moore
Sara Jane Moore
Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford on September 22, 1975, outside the St...

imprisoned 1975-78, in 1979 she escaped and was recaptured hours later Attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 on September 22, 1975.
Meg Scott Phipps
Meg Scott Phipps
Meg Scott Phipps was the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of North Carolina from 2001 to 2003.-Early life:She is the daughter of former North Carolina governor Bob Scott and former First Lady Jessie Rae Scott, as well as the granddaughter of former U.S. Senator and North Carolina Governor...

Held in FPC, Alderson Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 from 2001 to 2003.
Esther Reed
Esther Reed
Esther Elizabeth Reed is an American convicted on fraud and identity theft charges. She is best known for assuming a number of identities, including that of missing person Brooke Henson, to gain entry to universities....

40024-424 As of 2010, held in FPC, Alderson American convicted on fraud and identity theft charges.
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising...

55170-054 imprisoned October 8, 2004 - March 4, 2005 American business magnate, television host, author, and magazine publisher. Convicted of lying in her testimony about Insider trading
Insider trading
Insider trading is the trading of a corporation's stock or other securities by individuals with potential access to non-public information about the company...


External links



  • FPC Alderson - Federal Bureau of Prisons
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    The Federal Bureau of Prisons is a federal law enforcement agency subdivision of the United States Department of Justice and is responsible for the administration of the federal prison system. The system also handles prisoners who committed acts considered felonies under the District of Columbia's...