Learn About USP Atlanta 

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Learn about USP Atlanta

My name is Michael Santos, a founder of Prisons Professors. After a federal judge sentenced me to 45 years, authorities transferred me to USP Atlanta, where I began serving the term.

In August, 2021, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution published news about a scandal at the penitentiary:

Our team strives to help other people learn and grow by helping them prepare for the best outcome during imprisonment. We acknowledge that the mystery of imprisonment can disrupt a person’s mindset, which could take a toll on them.

We also know how to restore strength and confidence by offering helpful knowledge about federal prisons, including USP Atlanta. At Prison Professors, we offer guidance people can use to push through life in prison and come out as better citizens no matter where they serve their time. 

When I began serving my term, The United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, also known as USP Atlanta, was a high-security prison. Later, sometime after the turn of the century, administrators converted it to a medium-security federal prison.

This facility holds male prisoners only and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a US Department of Justice Division. It features the main facility, a detention center for pretrial and holdover individuals, and a satellite minimum-security male prison camp.

It occupies a 300 acres stretch of land and can hold up to 900 prisoners. There are 804 individuals at the Federal Detention Center and the United States Penitentiary, and 95 additional people in the camp. Historically, USP Atlanta was a holding facility for Mariel Boatlift Cuban refugees whom American society did not approve of release in the 1980s, but currently, it accommodates individuals awaiting relocation to other prisons. 

Notable Inmates

USP Atlanta has hosted many outstanding incarcerated individuals over the years. Among its most notable individuals are the following:

  • Meyer Harris Cohen 

Meyer Harris Cohen, popularly known as “Mickey,” was the head of the Cohen mafia family and a gangster in Los Angeles. He had significant connections to the Italian American Mafia in the years between 1930 and 1960.

  • Vincent Papa 

Vincent Papa was a member of the Lucchese mafia family. He was convicted in 1975 of masterminding the theft of heroin from the property office of the New York City Police Department from 1969 to 1972 during the French Connection operation.

  • Bulger Whitey 

Bulger Whitey was admitted to USP Atlanta in 1956 and was convicted in 2013 for acquiring and managing illegal businesses, conspiracy to commit extortion, narcotics distribution, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and engaging in 11 murders. He was the leader of the Boston Irish mob gang, popularly, the Winter Hill Gang. He was among the individuals in the FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitives from 1999 to 2011. 

  • LupoIgnazio 

From 1910 to 1920, and again from 1936 until 1946, Lupo, Ignazio served at USP Atlanta. He was the founder of the Morello Mafia family; and was convicted of counterfeiting in 1910, sentenced to jail for racketeering in 1936. Moreover, he was a major suspect in several Mafia-related killings.

Political Figures

  • Pedro Albizu Campos

From 1930 to 1965, Pedro Albizu Campos was the president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. In 1936, he was convicted of seditious conspiracy in connection with the extrajudicial killing of Elisha Riggs, a chief of police in Puerto Rico, which was conducted out in retaliation for the Ro Piedras massacre in which police killed four unarmed party supporters.

  • Marcus Garvey 

After serving four years, Marcus Garvey was set free in 1927. He was the founding member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and a key player in the Black Nationalist and Pan Africanist movements. He was convicted for mail fraud in 1923 and supporting the Black Star Line, a UNIA institution whose primary purpose was to move goods throughout the African global economy.

How to Send Money

The Bureau of Prisons discourages sending money to a prisoner using any of their facility’s addresses. Ideally, there are recommended ways and avenues through which you can send funds to a person in any of their prisons. To learn more about these methods, you can check out this resourceful article that we have on our site:

If you want to send money to any incarcerated person at USP Atlanta, you can use any of the following ways:


MoneyGram offers a service that allows people to send money to anybody in the world, including in federal facilities such as USP Atlanta. Their MoneyGram’s Express Payment Program enables anybody to transfer money to individuals in jail online.

However, to complete a transaction through this avenue, you have to provide the relevant needed bits of information. Incorrect information may lead to a failed transaction and, even worse, loss of your money if you send it to the wrong account. Ensure you provide the following information:

  • Account Number: This must include the personal registration number with no spaces or dashes and the inmate’s last name.
  • Company Name: Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • City & State: Washington, DC
  • Receive Code: 7932
  • Beneficiary: Inmate’s full committed name.

With MoneyGram, you can use any of these means to send your money:

MoneyGram Physical Locations

You can trace the nearest MoneyGram agent by dialing 1-800-926-9400 or visiting www.moneygram.com. After tracing their site, you will complete the MoneyGram ExpressPayment Blue Form. With this way, you pay in cash.

Online Transaction

For online transactions, you must visit www.moneygram.com/paybills?receiveCode=7932 and enter the receive code 7932 or Federal Bureau of Prisons. If you are a first-timer, you must set up a new profile and account. With your account ready, you can proceed to send funds with your MasterCard or Visa credit card.

The Western Union

Western Union offers money transfers to USP Atlanta through Quick Collect. Through this program, you can send your loved one money in the following ways:

In a Western Union branch

Individuals can call 1-800-325-6000 or visit www.westernunion.com to find an agent near you.

Individuals have to fill out a payment form.

Additionally, individuals may make a cash payment.

Via the Phone

You can call 1-800-634-3422 and select option two over the phone to send your funds. However, in this case, also, it will be necessary to use a credit or debit card.


Visit https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/inmatehome.html to get the necessary guidelines and the money transfer menu. Select “Quick Collect” from the drop-down menu. Similarly, like the phone transfer way, it will be necessary to use a credit or debit card.

United States Postal Service

Individuals who wish to send money to an individual in jail via the mail must do so through the US Postal Service. USP Atlanta allows people to send money orders and checks through the United States Postal Service. However, they should include the inmate’s full name and their registration number. Moreover, they should address it to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The processing of non-governmental and non-postal money orders takes about 15 days before the funds are ready. This mode, however, does not support personal checks, cash, or other items.

How to Send Mail to people in USP Atlanta

The United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, allows people to send and receive an email during their incarceration. However, the facility monitors all communications to and from the inmates through mail. Individuals must sign an agreement permitting the staff under the facility to open, inspect and read their emails. The mails must be clean and appropriate without any form of nudity or violence. Ideally, mails that do not meet the required standards set by the facility are subject to termination before they are sent or received. 

The Bureau of Prisons classifies mails into two categories: general and special mails. General Mail is from friends and family members, while special mails are from official sources such as government agencies and lawyers. 

Individuals at USP Atlanta can get and send as many mails as they can afford as long as it is in line with the set guidelines and has the necessary sender and recipient’s details. However, the facility’s officers do not permit individuals to receive packages via mail apart from the releasing clothes. This type of package may only be sent 30 days before the inmate’s release date, and the inmate’s Unit Team must authorize it accordingly.

While incarcerated persons can receive Books, newspapers, and magazines, these must be ordered from the publisher directly through subscription or mail order.

How to Send Packages

Imprisoned individuals at USP Atlanta cannot receive packages without the approval of the administration. Moreover, the only package that a person can receive is authorized medical devices or releasing clothing for inmates close to their release dates. Any other items found in possession of an inmate that does not come from the administration or the commissary it is considered contraband. If a person is found with such, they are liable to severe punishment. 

Calls and Emails

The federal prison system encourages people to stay in close contact with friends and family through the authorized means such as calls and emails. There is telephone time in every federal prison, including USP Atlanta, when incarcerated persons communicate with their loved ones and attorneys. However, all calls are strictly outbound, and they have to fund their call accounts to make calls or organize to have the recipients cover the cost through a collect call arrangement. Moreover, the prison staff monitors and records this communication to preserve security.  All calls and emails services are provided by Trulincs

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