Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Marion, U.S. Penitentiary
Stephen C. Richards
U.S. Penitentiary (USP) Marion is located 300 miles south of Chicago and 120 miles from St. Louis in the southern tip of Illinois. Marion is a small penitentiary used to isolate high-security male prisoners. The prison has no wall, but is surrounded by a high-security fencing wrapped in razor wire, protected by gun towers, with multiple cellblocks divided by a maze of security grills and doors. Marion, like all Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) prison facilities, is federal property situated on a U.S. government reservation, not that different from a Native American reservation or military base. Legally, USP Marion is not part of Illinois, since it is beyond state jurisdiction. The BOP uses an “inmate classification system” as a means to segregate, punish, and reward prisoners. This is a “classification ladder” with maximum security at the top and minimum security at the bottom. The classification designations have changed over the ...