March 6

Butner FCI Low Prison Layout


Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 |

Unit Layout

The inmate housing buildings are the 2 buildings on the right and administration buildings are on the left

The “Low” is an expansive facility housing about 1400 inmates with very typical prison buildings, cells and common areas for a federal correctional institution. There are two residential buildings with two stories each.  These are referred to as units and are named after local counties (e.g.; Durham). There are two wings on each floor with about 165 inmates on each wing. Each floor has a shaded glass control room occupied by a CO 24 hrs./day. The inmates get their passes from this room every time they need to go somewhere during the day. The unit offices are also located on each floor.

Inmate Administration Supervision

Each wing has its own counselor. Each floor has its own case manager, and each building has its own unit manager.  The counselors are responsible for the personal requirements of the inmates.  These include processing the inmates’ telephone and visitor lists, assigning jobs to the inmates, making cell assignments, and addressing any concerns that an inmate may have.  The case manager is responsible for managing the inmate’s confinement and release documentation.  This will include reporting the inmates’ adherence to the terms of their sentence and BOP policy, including education, drug rehabilitation and financial responsibility for fines and restitution.  The counselor and case managers report to the unit manager.  So, the unit managers have total line responsibility for the inmates.  The unit manager and camp administrators are on similar levels. The unit managers’ report to the assistant warden and warden.


The cells consist of one bunk-bed and one single-bed with three lockers for its three inmates. Each cell is about 8′ wide and 12′ deep with an open entry of about 1/2 of the cell width. Each cell is separated from the next by a 5 1/2″ cinder block wall. The floor is linoleum. There is a small bookshelf and a few hanging hooks. The cells were originally made for two inmates so the space is very crowded. There two hallways of cells with the center row consisting of back-to-back cells and a row on each of the outer walls thus providing four rows of cells. The beds are painted angle iron. The mattress is not thick and it lays on a steel pan so it is not comfortable unless you like a very stiff bed. The noise is constant given 165 guys on all different schedules.


Each wing has two bathroom and shower areas, laundry room, ice machine and microwave room, one computer room with four computers, and two TV rooms (one TV room for Spanish and four TV’s in a larger room). The TV’s are the tube type and you must have an FM radio to listen to the sound. The chairs are very territorial and each is marked with a cell number. There is one bank of about eight phones in the wing and another bank of phones at the front entry to the floor.

Administration and Common Areas

All the administration offices form a L-shape building with a very large area of grass covered grounds. The inmates are prohibited from walking on the grass. There are two walkways out of each building but one is reserved for handicap access. Each building has an open canopy-type structure for inmates to congregate under, otherwise loitering is prohibited.

The administration building consists of a visitation room, Lieutenants office, health services, Special Housing Unit (SHU), vocational training, chapel/chaplain office, Psych services, education, library, cafeteria, laundry services, prison business offices, commissary, safety office, Recreation building, barber shop and a small room for a Trulincs terminal for printing envelope labels.

The recreation grounds consist of a weight area of benches and pull-up bars but no weights, two covered basketball courts, two open basketball courts, two softball diamonds, five or so handball courts, a soccer/football field, horseshoes area, bocce ball courts, volleyball courts. The inside building area has treadmills and cycles, pool tables, a Foosball table, arts and crafts room, a yoga room and a music room. The grounds are surrounded by a tall double fence with razor wire. You definitely know you are prison!


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