Security Level and Healthcare Programs

Security Level and Healthcare Programs – The Security Level custody differences are based in part on limiting ‘freedom of movement’. The healthcare program information contained on this page is provided as an overview in understanding how healthcare is dispensed within the Federal Bureau of Prisons in order to gain a perspective regarding the BOP’s services and programs.

BOP Healthcare Program Resources

National Health Programs – Life Connections Program, BRAVE, STAGES, Challenge, Parenting, Mental Health Step Down, RDAP, Drug Abuse Education, Resolve, Skills, SOTP-R and SOTP-NR.


BOP Mental Healthcare  CARE LEVELS I-IV


BOP Security Levels
Conversations with a retired federal marshall:
  • Differences in security levels are based on ‘freedom of movement’.
  • Current incarceration policies do not appear to have rehabilitation as their primary mission.

Minimum security institutions, also known as Camps, have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing. These institutions are work- and program-oriented; and many are located adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base. There are two types;

  • Federal Prison Camps (FPC): these are free standing with limited fencing and more freedom of movement.
  • Satellite Camps: these are associated with higher security institutions. A number of BOP institutions have a small, minimum-security camp adjacent to the main facility. These camps, often referred to as Satellite Prison Camps (SPC), provide inmate labor to the main institution and to off-site work programs. FCI Memphis has a non-adjacent camp that serves similar needs.

Low-security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCI) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dormitory or cubicle housing, and strong work and program components. The staff-to-inmate ratio in these institutions is higher than in minimum-security facilities.

Medium security FCI (and USP designated to house medium-security inmates) have strengthened perimeters (often double fences with electronic detection systems), mostly cell-type housing, a wide variety of work and treatment programs, an even higher staff-to-inmate ratio than low-security FCI, and even greater internal controls.

High-security institutions, also known as United States Penitentiaries (USP), have highly secured perimeters (featuring walls or reinforced fences), multiple- and single-occupant cell housing, the highest staff-to-inmate ratio, and close control of inmate movement.

Correctional Complexes: A number of BOP institutions belong to Federal Correctional Complexes (FCC). At FCC, institutions with different missions and security levels are located in close proximity to one another. FCC increase efficiency through the sharing of services, enable staff to gain experience at institutions of many security levels, and enhance emergency preparedness by having additional resources within close proximity.

Administrative facilities are institutions with special missions, such as the detention of pretrial offenders; the treatment of inmates with serious or chronic medical problems; or the containment of extremely dangerous, violent, or escape-prone inmates. Administrative facilities include:

  • Metropolitan Correctional Centers (MCC),
  • Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDC),
  • Federal Detention Centers (FDC), and
  • Federal Medical Centers (FMC), as well as the
  • Federal Transfer Center (FTC), the
  • Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP), and the
  • Administrative-Maximum (ADX) U.S. Penitentiary.

Administrative facilities, except the ADX, are capable of holding inmates in all security categories.

Federal Satellite Low Security: FCI Elkton and FCI Jesup each have a small Federal Satellite Low Security (FSL) facility adjacent to the main institution. FCI La Tuna has a low-security facility affiliated with, but not adjacent to, the main institution.

Secure Female Facility: Currently, the BOP has one Secure Female Facility (SFF) unit (located at USP Hazelton, WV) designed to house female inmates. Programming at the SFF promotes personal growth by addressing the unique needs of this population.