Learn About Big Spring FCI 

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Learn more about Big Springs Federal Correctional Institution, in Texas.

My name is Michael Santos, a founder of Prisons Professors. While serving 26 years in different federal prisons, I learned a great deal about these facilities. Our team strives to help other people learn and grow by helping them prepare for the best outcome during imprisonment.

We are fully aware of the hardships a person is likely to experience in prison. However, we also know how to encourage, restore strength and confidence by offering beneficial information about federal prisons, including Big Spring FCI. At Prison Professors, we offer dependable guidance people can use to live through prison and leave as better citizens no matter where they serve their time. 

Federal Correctional Institution Big Spring is a low-security federal prison with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. Established in 1979, the prison is located in Big Spring, Texas, on a 98 acre stretch of land that was initially part of the Webb Air Force base. Although the prison was initially designed to hold 883 incarcerated individuals, it has expanded its capacity over the years. The facility currently holds 971 people, 861 at the main unit and 110 at the Camp. It operated as a Federal Prison Camp until 1990 when BOP converted it to today’s facility. 

The facility houses its people on two-person cells in twelve housing units; the Camp, on the other hand, houses its people in open dormitories. The facility also hosts a privately operated and owned Big Spring Correctional Center; it contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house federal criminals at four different locations. 

Violence among incarcerated individuals in this facility is rare. However, a few reports of such incidents are normal in a typical federal facility. For instance, a correctional officer, Officer Terry Lloyd, was conducting a routine search of the lockers when inmate Ray Ramirez-Bueno slammed his locker door on Officer Lloyd’s right hand, leading to an injury. When additional correction officers appeared on the scene, the individual refused to surrender and threatened to kill the officers. 

Notable Incarcerated Individuals

Despite being a low-security facility, Big Spring FCI has held some notable individuals in the federal history of incarceration. These include:

Robert Courtney

Robert Courtney, a former pharmacist, pleaded guilty in 2002for deliberately diluting chemotherapy drugs of about 4200 cancer victims for profit. CNBC’s American Greed featured his story in “The Toxic Pharmacist.” The facility transferred him to FCI Englewood.

Juan Carlos de la Cruz Reyna

He is currently serving an 11-year sentence and is scheduled for release in 2021. The Gulf Cartel leader assaulted two United States federal agents in 2009. He was later convicted of bribery in 2012 after attempting to pay off a United States undercover agent to arrange his release. 

Dias Kadyrbayev

Dias Kadyrbayev served a three-year sentence and was later deported to Kazakhstan. He was a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who perpetrated the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Dias pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice; he admitted retrieving and disposing of evidence to impede the investigation. 

Programs and Services

Like all other federal correctional facilities, Big Spring FCI offers wellness and reentry programs tailored to ensure the successful reintegration of incarcerated individuals into society. These programs arm them with skills and priceless knowledge in different fields.

Here are some of the programs offered at this federal prison:

Education Programs

Incarcerated individuals at the prison can enroll in academic programs including literacy classes, English as a Second Language, and General Education Diploma. The facility offers a $25 incentive to incarcerated people who complete the GED program. Upon completing the literacy course, the prison holds a graduation ceremony, including taking graduation photos. Adult Continuing Education and parenting classes are also available. High school diplomas and other post-secondary programs are offered through paid correspondence. 

Medical Services

Medical services begin during the intake process; all incarcerated individuals must undergo screening and physical examination before the facility assigns them a housing unit. Incarcerated individuals can access mental, dental, and medical care from certified and licensed clinicians. The health standards at the federal prison comply with the community standards for a correctional environment. Medical programs include physical examinations, sick calls, emergency health services, dental care, immunizations, laboratory tests, EKG tests, and HIV testing. Emergency health care is available 24 hours all week. 

Psychological Programs

Psychological staff conducts a mental screening on incarcerated individuals within 14 days of arrival at the correctional facility. Certified Psychologists are available at the prison to provide counseling and treatment services for people with severe mental health-related issues. The facility recognizes that some people can experience emotional, behavioral, and adjustment issues from the prison environment. Such people can also receive counseling services. These programs include individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, evaluation, and testing. The Counseling Department also offers classes including Commitment to Change, Relationships, Stress Management, Dealing with Anger, Victim’s Impact, Overcoming Errors in Thinking Group, and Living Free Values Development. 

Substance Abuse Treatment 

Studies have shown the direct link between substance abuse and crime; people under the influence are likely to commit criminal activities. With this already established, federal prisons have programs aimed at addressing the underlying conditions for substance abuse. All incarcerated individuals must undergo drug screening during admission to the facility. Those with severe drug and dependency issues must participate in designated substance abuse programs. The programs include a drug education class, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, NRDAP, RDAP, and Community Treatment services. People can continue with this program after release. 

Advanced Occupational Education

Big Spring FCI offers Advanced Occupation Education on Commercial Maintenance, HVAC, Building Trades, Wind Energy Technician, Plumbing Trades, Masonry Trades, High-Reliability Soldering, Electrical Trades, Green Insulation Technology, Computer Skills/Desktop Publishing, and Food Service Management. 

Religious Programs

It is every incarcerated individual’s Constitutional right to practice designated religious activities during their time of incarceration. 

Recreational Services

The prison allows inmates to engage in recreational activities during their free time or prison-issued schedules. Indoor recreational activities include a recreation center with pool tables, a gym, a ping pong table, a track area, a weight room, music areas, and TV viewing areas. Additionally, they can access free weights and cardio areas, a music room, board games, and a hobby craft area. On the other hand, outdoor provisions comprise a soccer field, sand volleyball court, a weight pavilion, quarter-mile running track, and other facilities utilized for intramural sports. 

Library Services

Like other federal facilities, library services include law and a leisure library. The law library allows incarcerated individuals to access legal referencing materials for the preparation of legal documents. Most of these legal referencing materials are available on the TRULINCS Electronic Law Library Computers at the library. The prison makes typewriters available to the people through a check-out procedure. Additionally, incarcerated people can access a copy machine with assistance from law library clerks. The leisure library provides access to paperback books, hardcover books, newspapers, magazines, and fiction and non-fiction books, among other reference materials. 

Sexual Abuse Prevention

Big Spring FCI has a zero-tolerance policy against any form of sexual abuse and is dedicated to protecting the rights of the incarcerated individual. All incarcerated people have the right against pressure to engage in sexual acts. They do not have to tolerate sexually abusive behavior or pressure to engage in the act from fellow people or correctional staff members. The policy applies to all incarcerated people regardless of age, race, gender, size, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. 

The facility advises incarcerated people to instantly report incidents of sexual abuse to a trusted staff member, the Office of Inspector General, or utilize the Administrative Remedy Procedure. All reports shall remain confidential and undergo thorough investigations. Third-party allegations on behalf of an incarcerated individual are channeled to the facility’s local institution’s PREA Compliance Manager. Alternatively, one can write to the following addresses depending on the severity of the allegations;

  • Inmate on Inmate abuse

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
NATIONAL AREA COORDINATOR
REENTRY SERVICES DIVISION
400 FIRST ST. NW, ROOM 4027
WASHINGTON, DC 20534

  • Staff Abuse if Inmates

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
OFFICE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
320 FIRST ST. NW, ROOM 600
WASHINGTON, DC 20534

Ensure to provide the correct information when initiating an investigation, including exact times, dates, and the locations where the incident occurred., names of incarcerated individuals or staff, and their identifying details. 

Commissary

The federal prison allows inmates to purchase additional items from the kiosk at the lobby at specified hours. Although the prison provides necessities for incarcerated individuals’ survival, those with money in their commissary accounts can order snacks, personal hygiene items, approved clothing, medical devices, and writing materials. You can see the full list of the available items here.

Inmates can spend a maximum of $360 each month on commissary items. The imprisoned individuals receive these funds through specific means as authorized by BOP. To learn more about these ways, you can check out this article that we have published on our site:

At Big Spring, for instance, you can deposit funds in an individual’s commissary account through following three ways:

United States Postal Services

Family and friends can send money orders to incarcerated individuals via mail. Do not use the facility’s mail address; all orders must go through a processing center in Des Moines, Iowa. Ensure to include a return address and the correct delivery address as follows:

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Insert Valid Committed Inmate Name

Insert Inmate Eight-Digit Register Number

Post Office Box 474701

Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

MoneyGram

MoneyGram allows family and friends to deposit funds in two ways;

  • Agent Location

You can deposit cash in the nearest MoneyGram physical agent location. You need to fill out a MoneyGram ExpressPayment Blue Form. Locate the nearest agent by calling 1-800-926-9400 or visiting their website

  • Online

You can deposit funds in the person’s commissary account online; remember to enter the receive code, always 7932. Here, you can only make deposits using a MasterCard or a Visa card. 

Western Union

Western Union has three deposit options including;

  • Western Union Location

You can deposit cash at your nearest Western Union Location; you need to fill out a payment form. Locate the nearest agent by visiting Western Union or calling 1-800-325-6000.  

  • Over the Phone

Deposit funds using your credit or debit card by calling 1-800-634-3422 the choose the second option. 

  • Online

Use your credit or debit card to deposit funds online. Visit Western Union and click on “Quick Collect,” then follow the provided instructions. 

Visitation Schedule

All Bop-run facilities allow incarcerated individuals to receive approved visitors on specific days. You can visit loved ones at Big Spring FCI on Saturdays, Sundays, and State-recognized Holidays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. 

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