USP Big Sandy | Big Sandy Prison | Big Sandy Detention Center

United States Penitentiary Big Sandy is a high-security federal prison located in Inez, Kentucky. It is also known as USP Big Sandy and Big Sandy Detention Center. The facility houses male inmates. USP Big Sandy Camp is located adjacent to the main institution. Male inmates are also housed at the camp.

USP Big Sandy Contact Information

Facility Address & Contact Information

United States Penitentiary Big Sandy
1197 Airport Road
Inez, KY

Phone: 606-433-2400
Fax: 606-433-2577
Email: [email protected]

BOP Website: Bureau of Prisons Page
Wikipedia: Wikipedia Page

Inmate Correspondence Address

USP Big Sandy

Inmate Name and Registration Number
USP Big Sandy
United States Penitentiary
P.O. Box 2068
Inez, KY

USP Big Sandy Camp

Inmate Name and Registration Number
USP Big Sandy Camp
Satellite Prison Camp
P.O. Box 2068
Inez, KY

How to Send Money

Do not send money to inmates directly. See our page on sending money to federal prisoners.

United States Penitentiary Big Sandy Inmate Information

Inmate Gender

Male Inmates

Prison Security Level

Facility Location

United States Penitentiary Big Sandy is located in eastern Kentucky, 133 miles from Frankfort.

BOP Region

Mid-Atlantic Region

BOP Institution Code

BSY for USP Big Sandy

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

Eastern District of Kentucky

Population Number

USP Big Sandy federal prison houses approximately 1,125 inmates. The Camp houses around 40 inmates.

USP Big Sandy Prison Services Information

USP Big Sandy | United States Penitentiary Big Sandy


United States Penitentiary Big Sandy is a high-security federal prison in Inez, Kentucky, which houses male inmates. Opened in 2009, It is part of the Federal Correctional Complex Big Sandy. United States Penitentiary Big Sandy Camp, which also houses male federal inmates, is located adjacent to the main institution.

Big Sandy federal prison is known for housing dangerous, high-profile inmates. The prison has experienced numerous violent incidents over the years.

Notable inmates include Roy Belfast, Jr. (serving a 97-year sentence for acts of torture on political and military opponents in Liberia) and former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family Vincent Basciano (serving two life sentences for murder, conspiracy, and racketeering).

Media reports indicate that at least one inmate has been killed by guards, and one guard was taken to a local hospital after being stabbed by an inmate.

At least 13 inmates have been indicted for weapons possession and assaulting guards, two inmates have been murdered by fellow prisoners, and one guard has been indicted for smuggling contraband into the institution.

Inmate Housing

USP Big Sandy houses individuals in one and two-person cells. The camp has dormitory housing.

Health Services

Sick calls, dental calls, emergency medical care, medications, physical examinations, immunizations, TB screening, and dental care are available to inmates. Emergency care is available 24 hours a day.

Psychology Services

USP Big Sandy offers individual counseling, group therapy, and a self-help library. The Challenge program is available to address the psychological, cognitive, and behavioral health factors that hinder an inmate’s ability to live life as a responsible citizen.

All inmates can attend classes in anger management, criminal thinking, stress management, impact of crime on victims, and more. Various psychological services and psychiatric treatments are also available.

Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)

USP Big Sandy houses a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Groups are offered for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Drug Education. The Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NR-DAP) is also available.

USP Big Sandy Educational, Library, and Recreation Offerings

Education Services

USP Big Sandy offers GED instruction and the English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program. A parenting program is also available. High school diplomas and post-secondary education are available through paid correspondence programs.

Advanced Occupational Education

USP Big Sandy offers advanced occupational education in Data Entry, Major Appliance Repair, and Receptionist.

Vocational Training

USP Sandy does not offer any vocational training aside from its advanced occupational education programs.


USP Big Sandy does not offer any apprenticeship programs.

Library Services

A law library and leisure library are available for inmates at both USP Big Sandy and the camp. The leisure library offers magazines, newspapers, fiction, nonfiction, and reference books. The law library provides inmates with access to legal materials and an opportunity to prepare legal documents.


The USP Big Sandy UNICOR facility produces clothing and textiles. The USP Big Sandy satellite camp does not have a UNICOR facility.


Inmates may spend up to $90.00 per week with a total of $360.00 per month. Inmates may shop only on their assigned day. The following items are available by special purchase order (SPO) and excluded from the spending limitation: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches and Kosher/ Halal shelf-stable entrees.

Recreation Services

USP Big Sandy offers indoor and outdoor activities. A gym with various sports and intramural programs is available to inmates. Hobby Crafts and table games are also available.

Visitation Information for USP Big Sandy

On Sunday and Saturday, visiting hours are between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. On federal holidays visiting hours are between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. See our page on prisoner visitation rules for more information.

USP Big Sandy | Big Sandy Federal Prison

USP Big Sandy in the News

In May 2018, prisoner Andy Cox, currently housed at the United States Penitentiary in Big Sandy, was featured in a news story because he had reached ten years of his mandatory life sentence for a third non-violent marijuana offense.

In 2009, a guard at USP Big Sandy shot and killed Warren Lee Back, a prisoner who was stabbing another prisoner and who ignored warnings to stop.

In October 2008, a guard at USP Big Sandy was stabbed in the head and lower back by a prisoner. The guard was taken to the hospital for treatment and released the same day.

In 2007, a USP Big Sandy guard, Alice Stapleton, was sentenced to a 78-month prison term for smuggling in heroin, marijuana, and cell phones to a prisoner, Personne McGhee.

In 2007, 13 prisoners were indicted for crimes that included heroin, weapons possession, and assaults on guards.

In October and November 2006, two prisoners, Shamoni Peterson and Calvin Speight, were stabbed and killed, the first murders since the prison opened in 2003.

In July 2002, prison officials announced that the new $170 million USP Big Sandy, which was built on top of an abandoned mine, was sinking, with one guard tower leaning.

More Information About United States Penitentiary Big Sandy

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 USP Big Sandy, please buy a copy of the Directory of Federal Prisons: The Unofficial Guide to Bureau of Prisons Institutions by Christopher Zoukis.