duluth federal prison camp

Exploring Duluth Federal Prison Camp: A Closer Look at Minnesota’s Minimum Security Facility

Duluth Federal Prison Camp (FPC) opened its doors in 1983, nestled in the heart of Saint Louis County, Minnesota. This minimum security facility, a part of the federal prison system, has been serving as a unique institution for male offenders. In this article, we will delve into the history, facilities, and life within Duluth Federal Prison Camp. So, let’s take a closer look at what goes on behind the barbed wire.

History of Duluth FPC

Duluth FPC’s history is closely intertwined with the land it stands on. The facility occupies a sprawling 90-acre lot that was once home to the Duluth Air Force Base. As the base eventually closed down, the site was repurposed to house individuals who have run afoul of federal laws.

Housing Arrangements

The heart of any correctional facility is its housing units. At Duluth FPC, inmates are housed in five barrack-like structures, each with two floors of rooms. These rooms typically accommodate 4 to 6 prisoners, providing them with a sense of community during their incarceration. Within these barracks, amenities such as laundry rooms and bathrooms are available on each floor for personal use.

One of the five main housing units caters specifically to inmates participating in the Residential Drug Abuse Program, highlighting the institution’s commitment to rehabilitation.

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Special Housing Unit

For inmates who require additional security measures or are undergoing disciplinary actions, Duluth FPC has a Special Housing Unit. This unit comprises eight beds distributed among three cells, ensuring that even in such circumstances, prisoners’ rights and needs are met.

Medical Facilities

Prisoner well-being is of utmost importance within Duluth FPC. The facility boasts a dedicated medical area, complete with a medical observation room. This ensures that any health concerns are promptly addressed, maintaining the health and safety of both inmates and staff.

Staff Housing

To facilitate the daily operations of the facility, staff housing is located just outside the prison camp. This strategic positioning allows staff members to be readily available for any emergencies or routine tasks.

Life Inside the FPC

To gain insight into life within Duluth FPC, we turn to an interview conducted back in 2011. Denny Hecker, a former millionaire car dealership owner who pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud, gave an intriguing perspective on his incarceration. According to a CBS reporter, Esme Murphy, Hecker’s account portrayed life in FPC Duluth in a more positive light than one might expect. Hecker spoke about daily workouts in the gymnasium, surprisingly good food (including “fresh cinnamon rolls” for breakfast), a salad bar, a movie theater, and the unique layout of his housing unit.

Visiting Hours and Regulations

Visiting loved ones in a prison setting is an essential aspect of maintaining family connections. However, it’s important to note that visiting hours at Duluth FPC are currently suspended until further notice due to various circumstances. Nevertheless, it’s valuable to understand the regulations and guidelines that typically govern visits:

  • Visits are scheduled on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays, with hours from 8:15 A.M. to 3:15 P.M.
  • On weekends and holidays, visitors arriving after 2:30 P.M. may be denied entry.
  • To enter the visiting room, visitors must complete a form and be added to the inmate’s approved visiting list.
  • Each inmate is allowed 24 visitors, excluding children under 16, on their approved visitor list.
  • Prisoners are granted up to 8 visits per month.
  • A maximum of 6 visitors per inmate is permitted at any given time, with visits ending if overcrowding occurs.
  • Special Housing Unit inmates have varying visitation allowances depending on their circumstances.
  • Inmates under pretrial or holdover status cannot have visits unless approved by the Warden.
  • Visitors must undergo a pocket search and jacket inspection before entering.
  • The visiting room allows small, clear coin purses, up to 2 clear plastic bags (not exceeding 16″ by 16″), baby diapers (8-10), four infant bottles, a baby rattle, teething ring, hand-carried infant seat, and emergency medication.
  • A television room is provided for children, and inmates are not allowed in this area.
  • Weather permitting, outdoor visits are possible.
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Contact Information

For those needing to contact Duluth FPC, the following information is provided:

  • Physical Address: Duluth Federal Prison Camp 4464 Ralston Drive Duluth, Minnesota 55811
  • Telephone: (218)-722-8634
  • Inmate Mailing Address: Inmate Name, ID Number Duluth Federal Prison Camp P.O. Box 1000 Duluth, Minnesota 55814


In conclusion, Duluth Federal Prison Camp stands as a significant institution in the federal prison system, offering a unique perspective on the rehabilitation of male offenders. From its history rooted in a former Air Force base to its dedication to prisoner well-being, Duluth FPC sheds light on the complexities of the correctional system. While visiting hours may be suspended at present, understanding the regulations and facilities helps paint a comprehensive picture of this minimum security facility.


  1. What is the history of Duluth Federal Prison Camp? Duluth FPC was established in 1983 on the grounds of the former Duluth Air Force Base.
  2. How are inmates housed at Duluth FPC? Inmates reside in barrack-like housing units, with each unit accommodating 4-6 prisoners.
  3. What is the Special Housing Unit, and who stays there? The Special Housing Unit is for inmates requiring additional security or facing disciplinary actions.
  4. What amenities are available for inmates at Duluth FPC? Inmates have access to a gymnasium, a variety of food options, a salad bar, and even a movie theater.
  5. Are there any current restrictions on visiting hours at Duluth FPC? Yes, visiting hours are currently suspended until further notice due to specific circumstances.

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