United States Penitentiary Big Sandy (USP Big Sandy) is a high-security level federal prison located in Inez, Kentucky. It is overseen by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office. USP Big Sandy is a Medical Care Level 1 prison. It houses 1,249 male inmates. It is also known as the Big Sandy prison, Big Sandy Detention Center, and Big Sandy Penitentiary.

USP Big Sandy | United States Penitentiary Big Sandy

Facilities: USP Big Sandy and an adjacent minimum security satellite prison camp.

Facility Address & Contact Information

United States Penitentiary Big Sandy
1197 Airport Road
Inez, KY 41224

Phone: 606-433-2400

Fax: 606-433-2577

Email: BSY/ExecAssistant@bop.gov

BOP Website: http://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/bsy

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Penitentiary%2C_Big_Sandy

Inmate Correspondence Address

For USP Big Sandy

Inmate Name and Registration Number
USP Big Sandy
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 2068
Inez, KY 41224

For Satellite Prison Camp

Inmate Name and Registration Number
USP Big Sandy
Satellite Prison Camp
P.O. Box 2068
Inez, KY 41224

NOTE: Funds cannot be sent directly to federal inmates. See our page on sending money to federal prisoners for more information.

Sex: Male

Security Level: Main: High; Camp: Minimum

Location: USP Big Sandy is located in eastern Kentucky, 133 miles from Frankfort.

BOP Region: Mid-Atlantic Region (MXR)

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.

Judicial District: Eastern District of Kentucky

Population (as of Sept. 14, 2020): Main: 1,227; Camp: 30

Background: USP Big Sandy opened in 2003. It is known for housing high-profile inmates. Since many inmates are sent to Big Sandy prison because they have been convicted of violent crimes and are now serving long sentences, the prison has experienced numerous violent incidents. 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).

Housing: USP Big Sandy is comprised of one and two-person cells. The camp has dormitory housing.

Health Services: Sick call, dental call, 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: Big Sandy Detention Center offers individual counseling, group therapy, and a self-help library. The Challenge program is available for inmates as well, to address the psychological, cognitive, and behavioral health factors that may hinder an inmate’s ability to live life as a responsible citizen. All inmates can attend classes in anger management, criminal thinking, stress management, the impact of crime on victims, values, 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 also offered for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Drug Education Classes. The Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NR-DAP) is also available.

Education Services: United States Penitentiary Big Sandy offers GED instruction and the English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program. Classes are separated into Advanced GED, GED, pre-GED, and Special Learning Needs levels. A parenting program is also available. High school diplomas and post-secondary programs 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.

Apprenticeship: Big Sandy Detention Center does not offer any apprenticeship programs.

Library Services: A law library and leisure library are both available for inmates at 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.

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

Commissary: Inmates are permitted to spend up to $90.00 per week with a total of $360.00 per month. 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 are available to inmates. A hobby craft program with classes in the arts and table games are offered.

Visitation Information: See our page on prisoner visitation rules for more information.

Directions to Prison:


A Google Maps image of USP Big Sandy federal prison in Kentucky

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.