Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Supermax prisons are the prisons within prisons, sites where the total lockdown of one unit or facility becomes standard daily operating procedure. These supermaximum security facilities are designed to house and manage those inmates who have displayed violent or seriously disruptive behavior while incarcerated. The basic premise of supermax is to apply the absolutely highest level of security to inmates whom the prison administration has determined are manageable only through isolation from other inmates and staff. Most U.S. states have added, or are in the process of adding, a supermax unit to preexisting institutions, or they are building entire facilities designed solely for supermax purposes, such as the federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Supermax prisons fall into a wide rubric of high-security correctional measures, which include high-max; administrative segregation; administrative maximum (admax or ADX); disciplinary segregation; segregated, secured, or special housing units (SHUs); special program units (SPUs); adjustment centers; maxi-maxi; ...