FCI McDowell | Federal Correctional Institution McDowell

Federal Correctional Institution McDowell is a medium-security federal prison in Welch, West Virginia. It is also known as FCI McDowell. FCI McDowell Camp is adjacent to the primary institution. Both prisons house male inmates.

FCI McDowell Contact Information

Facility Address & Contact Information

Federal Correctional Institution McDowell
101 Federal Drive
Welch, WV 24801

Phone: 304-436-7300
Fax: 304-436-7318
Email: [email protected]

BOP Website: Bureau of Prisons Page
Wikipedia: Wikipedia Page

Inmate Correspondence Address

FCI McDowell

Inmate Name and Registration Number
FCI McDowell
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1009
Welch, WV 24801

FCI McDowell Prison Camp

Inmate Name and Registration Number
FCI McDowell
Satellite Prison Camp
P.O. Box 1009
Welch, WV 24801

How to Send Money

Inmates in federal prisons cannot receive funds from the public directly. All money must be sent through an approved vendor like Western Union or the National Lockbox in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sending money via Western Union is quick and easy, and you can do it online or at one of their many retail locations. To send money via the National Lockbox, you must mail a U.S. Postal Money Order made out to the inmate’s full name and identification number in the memo line. Funds are available to the inmate within one business day of receipt.

For more information on sending money to a federal inmate, please see our page on sending money to federal prisoners.

Federal Correctional Institution McDowell Inmate Information

Inmate Gender

Male Inmates

Prison Security Level

Facility Location

FCI McDowell is located in southern West Virginia, four miles north of Welch and 48 miles southwest of Beckley, West Virginia.

BOP Region

Mid-Atlantic Region

BOP Institution Code

MCD for FCI McDowell

Medical Care Level

Level 1. See our page on Medical Care Levels and Procedures for more information.

Mental Health Care Level

Level 1.

Judicial District

Southern District of West Virginia

Population Number

FCI McDowell houses approximately 1,560 inmates. The camp houses around 30 inmates.

FCI McDowell | Federal Correctional Institution McDowell

FCI McDowell Prison Services Information


Federal Correctional Institution McDowell is a medium-security federal prison in Welch, West Virginia. It opened in 2011 and houses male offenders. Federal Correctional Institution McDowell Camp is next to the central institution. The camp also houses male federal inmates.

The facility was completed in 2010 at an approximate $233 million cost. The first inmates to arrive were assigned to the minimum-security prison camp and were immediately put to work in maintenance jobs. McDowell County residents had voted almost unanimously to allow the prison construction at its location because of the assertion that it would create many job opportunities for the economically challenged county.

However, in July 2010, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported that local people were not landing as many prison jobs as was expected. Out of the first 87 hires, only 12 were from McDowell County, and five from the bordering Wyoming County. The McDowell County Animal Shelter sends some dogs to FCI McDowell and Federal Prison Camp Alderson as part of a program to help train and socialize the dogs before finding them forever homes.

Notable inmates include former Trenton, New Jersey, Mayor Tony F. Mack (serving a 58-month sentence for bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and extortion).

Media reports indicate that at least five inmates have been charged with weapons possession, and three other prisoners have been charged with smuggling over the past several years.

Inmate Housing

Inmates live in two-, three-, and four-person cells. There is a total of 12 housing units. Prisoners at the camp live in dormitories.

Health Services

Dental sick calls, sick calls, routine dental care, physical examinations, emergency services, eyeglasses, diagnosis and treatment of chronic infectious diseases, preventive health care services, and medications are provided to inmates. A sick call is held at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The pill line is conducted twice a day.

Psychology Services

The FCI McDowell Psychology Department provides a variety of services. Individual counseling is available for inmates experiencing family, interpersonal, adjustment, or other personal concerns.

Educational and therapeutic groups are offered as well. Group topics are determined based on population needs, interests, and staff availability. The self-help library program includes books and audio and video materials. A psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor, is available for regular consultation for those needing medications or medication monitoring.

There are many alternatives for inmates who have personal problems and desire to correct them. These options include self-image groups and other voluntary groups conducted by correctional counselors.

Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)

Federal Correctional Institution McDowell does not house a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), but referrals are made to institutions that provide RDAP. However, the facility offers a Drug Education Class and the Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NR-DAP).

FCI McDowell Educational, Library, and Recreation Offerings

Education Services

FCI McDowell and the satellite camp provide literacy, English-as-a- Second Language (ESL), and parenting programs. Adult Continuing Education (ACE) classes are also available. High school diplomas and post-secondary degrees are available through paid correspondence programs.

You can learn more about inmate education programs here.

Advanced Occupational Education

McDowell FCI and the camp do not offer advanced occupational education programs.

Vocational Training

FCI McDowell federal prison offers vocational training in Carpentry, Masonry, and Residential Wiring. The camp provides Business Marketing.


Federal Correctional Institution McDowell offers an apprenticeship in Dental Assistant. Both facilities provide Cook, Electrical, HVAC, Plumber, and Teacher Assistant apprenticeships. The camp offers Welding.

Library Services

The McDowell Prison law library is located in the Education Department and contains a variety of legal reference materials for use in preparing legal papers, including:

  • United States Code Annotated
  • Federal Reporter
  • Supreme Court Reporter
  • Bureau of Prisons Program Statements
  • Institutional Supplements
  • Indexes
  • Other Legal Materials

Most of these materials are available on the TRULINCS Electronic Law Library computers.

Inmates can also check out fiction and nonfiction books, newspapers, and magazines. DVD movies are also available for viewing. These materials are available in the prison’s leisure library.


FCI McDowell does not have a UNICOR facility.


The total value of an inmate’s accumulated commissary items (including special purchases) is limited to the monthly spending limit of $360.00. Inmates may purchase items in the prison commissary, such as:

  • Candy
  • Snacks
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Clothing
  • Shoes

Inmates must submit their order form by 8:00 a.m. the day before they are scheduled to shop. On their designated shopping day, inmates are called unit-by-unit to pick up their orders.

Recreation Services

Leisure activities and recreation programs at FCI McDowell include indoor and outdoor activities ranging from individualized arts and crafts programs to intramural team sports. Physical fitness and weight reduction programs are also available.

Indoors, inmates have access to:

  • Treadmills
  • Stair Climbers
  • Stationary Bikes
  • Ellipticals
  • Indoor Basketball
  • TVs
  • Art Room
  • Leather Room
  • Band Rooms
  • Musical Equipment
  • Tables

Outdoors, inmates have access to:

  • Softball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Handball
  • Basketball
  • Running Track

Visitation Information for FCI McDowell

Families and friends can visit on Sunday, Monday, and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. On federal holidays visiting hours are between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. See our page on prisoner visitation rules for more information on visiting the institution.

FCI McDowell | McDowell Federal Prison

FCI McDowell Prison Culture Information

Prison Politics at Federal Correctional Institution McDowell

The inmate population states this is a very political yard. Inmates have to be part of a racially-oriented car to stay. According to one respondent, the races and cars “claim everything from TVs and tables to cells.”

Level of Violence

While most respondents stated a moderate level of violence, a few suggested that “violence is pretty low, and safety overall is pretty good.” Most agreed that there are many fights and that stabbings are not unusual.

Vulnerable Populations

Sex offenders and LGBT inmates cannot stay. If informants can fly under the radar, they can walk the yard.

According to one inmate, “Sex offenders are usually run up-top the day they get here, and informants are usually beaten off. There are a few gay inmates here, but they are pretty much shunned. They have nowhere to sit in the chow hall.”

Good at FCI McDowell

“Nine TVs per housing unit.” “The food is really good.”

Bad at FCI McDowell

“We get locked down every time the Warden breaks a nail. They have made it very hard to get mail from your family by only allowing white paper, white envelopes, and even rejecting mail based on the color of ink used to write the letters.”

“Lots of car meetings. Very political.” “No microwaves.” “The prison is in poor condition even though it is relatively new.”

Other Inmate Comments

“Stand-up white guys who aren’t homosexual will like it. Such inmates will like how time is done here. If not, stay away.” “Not the best prison around, especially if your paperwork isn’t good.”

FCI McDowell in the News

In December 2017, three prisoners at Federal Correctional Institution McDowell — Scott Finnell, Misael Santana-Rivera, and Antonio R. Azpeitia — were each sentenced to a year and three months, and prisoners Ernest Shields and Diego Ninos were each sentenced to two years for the possession of handcrafted weapons known as shanks.

In November 2017, Marcus Buggs, Frederick Griggin, and Scotty Pullum, prisoners at FCI McDowell federal prison, were sentenced to five and six additional months for separate incidents of attempting to smuggle drugs into the facility.

In June 2017, Christopher Williams, a prisoner at McDowell FCI, pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon — a handmade shank — while in prison and faced up to five additional years. The U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted him.

McDowell Prison Camp in the News

In June 2014, the former mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, Tony Mack, reported to Federal Correctional Institution McDowell Camp to begin his 58-month sentence for public corruption.

More Information About Federal Correctional Institution McDowell

For a comprehensive look at life in federal prison, pick up a copy of Christopher Zoukis’ Federal Prison Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Surviving the Federal Bureau of Prisons. For more detailed information about FCI McDowell prison, please buy a copy of the Directory of Federal Prisons: The Unofficial Guide to Bureau of Prisons Institutions by Christopher Zoukis.