A low-security federal detention center with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.
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The Federal Detention Center in SeaTac is a holdover facility. Typically, FDC SeaTac holds people while they are on pre-trial status, or while they wait to transfer to a federal prison. Some minimum-security prisoners stay at SeaTac to work at the federal prison. They prepare food and perform maintenance duties. As a federal detention center, FDC SeaTac is an “administrative” facility. That means it holds people from every security level. The people who are part of the work cadre will be minimum-security, and they will not have opportunities to mix freely with the general population. Please become familiar with the visiting policy which can be downloaded from the www.bop.gov website.
Inmate Gender: Mixed Offenders
Population:710 Total Inmates
710 Inmates at the FCI
0 Inmates at the Camp
Judicial District: WA
BOP Region:Western Region
- 1. My name is:Steven Metheny
- 2. I arrived on:November 1, 2016
- 3. I’m scheduled to leave on:February 2026
- 4.My judge sentenced me to serve how many months? 151 months
- 5. In the past, I’ve been confined at the following institutions:I surrendered to FCI Seagoville, in Texas to start my term back in August of 2015.
- 6. I was convicted of the following offense:One count of mail fraud. It’s a violation of the United States Code, Title 18, Section 1341.
- 7. Pros of the facility:The only real pros of this facility are it’s location to home allowing my wife and children easier access to visit and some of the nicer unit staff members that I have encountered in the BOP.
- 8. Cons of the facility:Cons far outweigh the pros; No programming, (GED only) no outside recreation, no windows to outside (yes you read that right, I have not seen the sky in 11 months), visits are limited to 2 hours only and you are not allowed any contact with visitors, No access to outside, minimum of 4 lockdowns per day, (7am, 12:30pm, 4pm and 9pm) Constant emergency lockdowns per day, (if something happens on another floor or another unit everyone is locked down, this happens several times each day) No property from other institutions allowed to be brought in when you arrive, (no T-shirts, shorts, underwear, socks, shoes, water bottles, pens, tooth brush, NOTHING) everything you packed out at the last facility is either sent home or discarded. So if you are eventually transferred to another facility you will have to re-purchase everything again.
- 9.Food assessment of the facility:The food is cooked in a kitchen on the basement level of this 7 story facility. It is prepared several days in advance and frozen, then on the day of consumption it is wheeled to the unit in a food cart and placed in an oven in the unit and re-heated and served. Food is served and consumed in the unit and is of very poor quality and small portions
- 10.Recreational opportunities at the facility:Recreation consist of a small concrete structure attached to each unit and has a small opening up high to allow in some air. There is very little equipment, one treadmill, one elliptical, one stationary bike and about 6 medicine balls, three jump ropes,
basket ballhoop (but no ball) and three foam rollers, 12 exercise mats round out the equipment list. As of 9-14 -17 there are 93 inmates in this unit sharing all that equipment.
- 11.Programs available in the facility:The only program available at this facility is the GED program, period. At one time they offered a parenting program (which I took) it was a six week class, but has since been discontinued. NO ACE (Adult continuing education) classes and NO vocational classes. NO RDAP, NO hobby shop, ONLY GED!
- 12.Best jobs in the facility:Jobs are very hard to come by as there are currently more than twice as many sentenced “cadre” inmates as there are jobs in this facility. Several inmates go months with no work while waiting for jobs. There is one maintenance crew that occasionally goes outside to work on the compound but you need to have community out-custody to be eligible. Only 5 inmates have this job. Town driver is another coveted job that only two inmates have and again requires community out-custody.
- 13.Living Quarters in the facility:There are 60
two manrooms per unit with bunk beds, sinks, and toilets (flushing is timed and allowed only once every 5 minutes, if you flush more the toilet will “lock out” for 1 hour) in each room. The units are two tieredand there are 4 showers per tier. Kitchens are in the housing units (lower tier) and used to re-heat the food brought in daily from the kitchen downstairs. There are 4 TV’s in the day room/ dinningroom.
- 14.How would I assess safety in the facility? :Safety has not been a concern since I have been here
- 15.What types of pressure did I feel in the facility?:The only pressure is from frustration of all the inmates here that are used to being in other facilities with way more options, activities, and programs. The lack of access to the outside or even to be able to look out of a window adds to this tension. With little to nothing to do, stress is
- 16.What is my general review?:This facility is designed as a pretrial holdover facility and can be run with about 100 to 120 cadre inmates and it currently has 710 total inmates in custody. Of that about 240 are pre-trial detainees and 460 are “cadre”, almost twice as many sentence cadre inmates as pre-trial detainees and about 350 more than required to fill all of the available jobs. There are numerous restraints here that are not present at other facilities with higher custody classifications. Most
notablethe lack of access to outside or even being able to look out of a window or see the sky. 1 being horrible and 10 being great I give this facility a 1.5 to a 2 based exclusively on it’s location to my family and some of the unit staff.
- 17.On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the facility a rating of:2
- 18.Personal Blog:
- 1. My name is:Michael Santos
- 2. I arrived on:I never served time at FDC SeaTac.
- 3. I’m scheduled to leave on:I finished my well-documented federal prison sentence in August of 2013.
- 4.My judge sentenced me to serve how many months? I was sentenced under a different sentencing system. It was called the “old law.” Under the old law, my judge sentenced me to serve a 45 year sentence. I was incarcerated for 26 years. I finished with the prison system in 2013.
- 5. In the past, I’ve been confined at the following institutions:I served time in prisons of every security level. I started in the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta. After several years in that prison, I transferred to many different federal prisons, including several federal detention centers. I concluded my final decade in federal prison camps. My story is well documented, so anyone can see what I know about the federal prison system.
- 6. I was convicted of the following offense:I was convicted of crimes related to the distribution of cocaine. I made bad decisions as a young man. While in prison, I worked to reconcile with society. I pursued education programs, publishing, and building a strong support network. Anyone can do the same.
- 7. Pros of the facility:I can respect that many people detest serving time in the federal detention center. It’s hard. It’s hard because people are away from family. It’s hard because the living conditions are worse than in a typical federal prison. But I found some advantages while in the FDC system. I was able to interact with a lot of people. They had a lot of insight that I could use for various books I wrote about the prison system and how to grow through prison. I understand that my situation was not typical, and others would not see this as a “pro.” But it’s important to consider every perspective. It’s important to see that even in struggle, there are opportunities to grow and live productively.
- 8. Cons of the facility:The cons of the facility,
are asothers would review. It’s all concrete and steel. There are minimal opportunities to enjoy fresh air. The security level is tighter than in minimum-security federal prison camps, or in federal correctional institutions. And there is some pressure because of the lack of liberty. Freedom of movement is bad, and the food isn’t as good as in regular prisons.
- 9.Food assessment of the facility:I didn’t eat the food at FDC SeaTac, but I’m sure it’s very institutional and bland. Think bologna on white bread. Think hot dogs with white bread. Think scrambled eggs that are green because they’re made with powder.
- 10.Recreational opportunities at the facility:When I was held in FDC type prisons, I did thousands of pushups each day. I ran in place. I walked up and down stairs.
- 11.Programs available in the facility:In federal detention centers, a person needs to be self-directed. I could be resourceful in a place like FDC SeaTac. I wrote articles. I interviewed people and wrote sentence-mitigation pieces for them. I wrote about the experiences that others had in prisons and I used that information in various books I published.
- 12.Best jobs in the facility:For me, the best job is working for myself. I would work through my writing. And I would work on fitness.
- 13.Living Quarters in the facility:The living quarters are very sterile. Since it’s an administrative facility, staff hold a lot of counts. There are two people to a room in most cases. The beds are narrow. Basically, a bed is a sheet of steel with a mat over the top. It’s not a good living environment for someone who is new to prison.
- 14.How would I assess safety in the facility? :I would
safeit’s safer than prison because of the intense security. Further, it’s highly controlled and there isn’t as much pressure from disruptive groups.
- 15.What types of pressure did I feel in the facility?:The pressure is always wondering when you can transfer to a better federal prison.
- 16.What is my general review?:Generally, I say that all prisons are what an individual makes of the time inside. It’s okay to get through the journey with an understanding that there will be tough spots. Time in an FDC can be tough for many people. But it always gets better.
- 17.On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the facility a rating of:6
- 18.Personal Blog:
A low security with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.
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INMATE NAME & REGISTER NUMBER
Federal Detention Center
P.O. BOX 13900
SEATTLE, KING, WA 98198