A supermax prison is basically a prison within a prison and there is only one supermax in the United States federal system. ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado, houses several inmates with a history of violent behavior in other prisons, escape attempts or successes, and other extreme cases. Supermax serves the purpose of moving from solitary confinement which is 23 hours a day confinement to a cell to some place a bit less restrictive. Though less restrictive than solitary, it is still highly structured and guarded as those in supermax are considered highly dangerous in a variety of ways.
There are other times that supermax or level 5 facilities or sections, truly are considered a prison within a prison in that it is an area of segregation in which inmates are left locked up 23 hours per day and let out only to shower and take care of other personal needs. This is considered to have added safety, control, and order over dangerous offenders. Some also believe this can lead to better recidivism rates and better behavior to avoid such a placement.
Supermax is created for those that need extreme supervision, the most volatile, violent, and likely to escape or harm others. This means supermax is a very solitary place. Inmates are rarely let out of their cells more than one at a time, but if they are it is only with those who are in the same situation. This means that human interaction is rare. Typically, those who have to be transported to different areas from supermax will do so under great security, often in full shackles so that there is less chance for violence. Supermax individuals are also unlikely to get any type of contact visit so all visits will also be done in full shackles and behind glass or through a video monitor. Someone who lands in supermax has demonstrated that they are not safe to be around others. If your loved one is in supermax, talking to them may be difficult and in some cases may not be safe. Never try to lie or sneak items in for those in supermax, this can get you and them into further trouble and create an extended sentence.
Just as with all other things, supermax inmates are allowed limited phones call and possibly limited commissary. Though commissary is not a guarantee as it is truly a privilege in lockup, phone calls are only taken as a last resort. Inmate calling may be limited to certain approved people, especially for those in supermax. If you are on the inmate calling plan then make sure you do not break any rules during the conversation as it is highly likely someone is listening and a definite that it is being recorded. This includes adding a third party or transferring the call to another line.
If you want to know more about where a particular inmate, their location, and their status, make sure to check out our find a facility page. This will offer you a state by state breakdown of facilities and how to contact each as needed.