el reno federal correctional institution

Exploring El Reno Federal Correctional Institution

In the heart of Canadian County, Oklahoma, lies the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a significant part of the American correctional system. This medium-security prison is accompanied by a nearby minimum-security satellite camp, housing a total of 1,226 inmates. Our journey into this institution will uncover its history, facilities, notable events, and the daily lives of its inmates.

The Institution’s Background

The El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, often referred to as FCI El Reno, is a male offender facility with an interesting history. Originally designed to accommodate up to 936 offenders, it currently houses 1,226 inmates. These prisoners range in age from 20 to 60 years old, creating a diverse environment within its secure perimeter of 2,600 acres, 56 of which are surrounded by a sturdy fence.

Housing Units

FCI El Reno consists of four housing units for inmates, each equipped with double-occupancy cells. However, due to the increased prisoner population, some cells have been adapted to accommodate three inmates. The satellite prison camp, on the other hand, features a single housing unit divided into four wings, comprising small cubicles for housing.

Inmate Employment Opportunities

One aspect that sets FCI El Reno apart is the array of job opportunities it offers to inmates. The institution houses a metal factory run by UNICOR, providing employment to many prisoners. Additionally, FCI El Reno is home to one of only two dairy farm operations within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, offering another avenue for inmate employment.

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Rehabilitation Programs

Recognizing the importance of rehabilitation, FCI El Reno offers a Residential Drug Abuse Program aimed at benefiting prisoners with substance abuse issues. The institution’s staff includes 22 medical professionals to provide medical care to any offender in need, as well as 10 psychologists to assist prisoners dealing with mental health issues. Furthermore, FCI El Reno offers vocational training, religious services, counseling programs, and educational opportunities to encourage self-improvement among inmates.

Historic Visits

In 2015, a historic event occurred when President Barack Obama visited FCI El Reno. This marked the first time a sitting U.S. president had ever visited a federal prison. This visit left an indelible mark on the institution’s history.

Notable Escapes

While FCI El Reno has a relatively secure environment, it is not without its incidents. On December 19, 2004, an inmate named Carlos Brewster managed to escape from the prison camp. His escape led to a three-week manhunt, culminating in his apprehension by the US Marshals Service at a fast-food restaurant in East Los Angeles, California. Brewster was subsequently sentenced to additional time on top of his existing 21-year sentence for possession and intent to distribute cocaine, leading to his transfer to a higher-security prison.

Another notable escape occurred in August 2011 when Joe Villarreal, a prisoner serving a 147-month sentence for drug trafficking, managed to escape from FCI El Reno. Villarreal was arrested in El Reno shortly after his escape, and it was revealed that he had been carrying a shank in the prison. As a result, he received an additional 46-month sentence and was transferred to a higher-security facility.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

For families and loved ones of inmates at FCI El Reno, visiting is an important way to maintain connections. Visiting hours are conducted on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays, from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. on each of these days.

Visitor Regulations

To ensure smooth visitation, visitors must arrive by 2:00 P.M. On weekends, there is a visitor restriction from 9:15 A.M. to 10:45 A.M. at the FCI. The visiting room at FCI El Reno can accommodate up to 133 people, while the Camp’s visiting area can host no more than 57 individuals.

Visiting rules include a limit of up to five adult inmates at once and a cap of five children per visit. Visits are tracked with a point system, where each offender receives 32 visiting points per month. On weekdays, one point is deducted for each hour of visitation, with any portion of an hour counted as a full hour. On weekends and holidays, two visiting points are deducted per hour. Inmates can request up to 10 additional visiting points from the Warden.

Visitors aged 16 and older must provide proper identification before entering the visiting room. Items brought into the facility are restricted to a clear coin purse, which will be searched upon arrival. Basic infant needs, such as two diapers, one baby bottle, and sealed store-bought baby food, are allowed. During visits, only handholding is permitted as physical contact.

Location and Contact Information

For those interested in visiting or contacting FCI El Reno, the physical address is:

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El Reno Federal Correctional Institution 4205 Highway 66 West El Reno, Oklahoma 73036

Telephone: (405)-262-4875

Inmate Mailing Address:

Inmate Name, ID Number El Reno Federal Correctional Institution P.O. Box 1500 El Reno, Oklahoma 73036

In conclusion, the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution plays a vital role in the American penal system. With its rich history, inmate employment opportunities, rehabilitation programs, and notable visits, it offers a glimpse into the complex world of corrections. While security remains paramount, FCI El Reno also focuses on rehabilitation and maintaining family connections through its visiting program.


  1. Is El Reno Federal Correctional Institution open for public tours?
    • No, FCI El Reno is not open for public tours. Access is restricted to authorized personnel and approved visitors.
  2. How can I get on an inmate’s approved visiting list?
    • To be added to an inmate’s approved visiting list, you must follow the institution’s visitor approval process, which typically involves filling out an application and meeting specific criteria.
  3. Are there any educational programs available for inmates at FCI El Reno?
    • Yes, FCI El Reno offers educational opportunities for inmates, including vocational training and academic programs to help them acquire new skills.
  4. Can inmates receive packages from family and friends?
    • Inmates can typically receive packages from family and friends, but there are specific rules and restrictions regarding what items can be sent and how they should be packaged. It’s advisable to check with the institution for detailed guidelines.
  5. What security measures are in place during visits at FCI El Reno?
    • Visitors to FCI El Reno are subject to security measures, including a walk-through metal detector and inspection of allowed items to ensure the safety and security of the facility.

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