Is There A Prison Near You?

Image: ADX ‘Supermax’, Florence,CO (Getty Images)

Here’s a hypothetical for you: While considering the worst case scenario whereby societal collapse and/or complete infrastructure failure (e.g. EMP, grid-down) leads to the escape/release of prisoners within the U.S., do you know where the prisons and prisoners are located, and are any of them near where you live?

Or how about this… Do you know which states have the highest and lowest imprisonment incarceration rates, and how this may or may not affect you depending on where you live?

I have read that there are 5,393 prison facilities in the United States – places where people are held in local and county jails, state prisons, federal corrections facilities, and detention centers.

Apparently approximately 2.3 million prisoners are being held in the U.S. at this time and approximately 4.7 million are on probation or parole. That’s nearly 7 million people under ‘correctional supervision’ – nearly 3% of adults in America (1 in 35).

Here are a few online sources to assist you while locating prisons that may be near you:

…and a chart which indicates the position of all 50 states and their relation to current imprisonment rates:

List of United States state prisons

List of United States federal prisons

Federal Bureau of Prisons (plus regional maps)

List of United States military prisons

Why am I posting this on a survival-preparedness website?

While the odds of mass prison escape / release seem very low, it may be a good idea to at least know where the closest prisons are to your location. Preparedness includes ‘knowledge’.

States with the most prisoners:
1. Texas
2. California
3. Florida
4. Georgia
5. New York
6. Ohio
7. Pennsylvania
8. Illinois
9. Michigan
10. Louisiana

States with the least prisoners:
1. North Dakota
2. Vermont
3. Maine
4. Rhode Island
5. Wyoming
6. Alaska
7. New Hampshire
8. Montana
9. Hawaii
10. South Dakota

States with the lowest imprisonment rate (per 100,000 adults)
1. Maine
2. Rhode Island
3. Massachusetts
4. Minnesota
5. North Dakota
6. New Hampshire
7. Vermont
8. New Jersey
9. Hawaii
10. Washington

States with the highest imprisonment rate (per 100,000 adults)
1. Louisiana
2. Oklahoma
3. Mississippi
4. Alabama
5. Texas
6. Arizona
7. Arkansas
8. Georgia
9. Missouri
10. Idaho

data source: U.S. Department of Justice, September 2015, NCJ 248955

There are lots of implications with this data, however do with it what you may. Understand your regional risks having to do with incarceration and prison locales so as to better understand the potential risks where you are…


  1. Yes, and they are already full. Local and state politicians screaming to build more. The mindless brainless sheeple zombies cheer them on. No place to run, no place to hide. Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi all at the top of the zombie list. Non zombies all armed to the teeth. It should get very interesting around here after the fall.

  2. in this area there are 2 major prisons the infamous prison known as attica and the lesser known elmyra and the JR prison know as industry

    1. And, about 10 years ago (give or take) – there was a fella that broke out and was on the run in the woods along the NY/PA border. He was caught, but, he was on the run for quite a while. Was that a state prison, or county jail I wonder?

  3. Oy and if I wasn’t already scared sh__less with what I do know. And a good morning to you too. LOL! But honestly, better forewarned so that we can be forearmed.

  4. Wow, there are at 6 prisons within an easy 4-hour drive from where I live. Quite a few shortly past that range too. I suddenly feel “slightly” unprepared in terms of defense. Maybe I can use this as an excuse to stock up on some lead.

  5. Until one elects to physically leave the confines of USA, 99% of us are on work release (except for the 84 million without a job).

  6. My thoughts are that if SHTF and there is a big breakout, not all of them are going to immediately get a car and go on a rampage. A high percentage of inmates aren’t necessarily all that dangerous and will probably just want to get to their own families. Also, unless you live within a couple days walk of one of these facilities, your danger probably won’t be that much increased beyond the normal shtf scenario.

    1. The vast majority of the population lives within a few days walk (40 miles) of one of these facilities.

  7. Here in Texas there are a lot of prisons and local jails. And if there is a SHTF event there would probably be a large breakout of the jail population but I do not think that will really change a lot in terms of safety around here. There are so many, many crazy people on the outside of prisons that a few escapees really will not change much, the danger level is already so high due to the public at large. Either way I have sufficient lead to handle the threat level and I would encourage others to be prepared like wise. A hungry (or opportunistic) man is a dangerous man that should never be given a second chance to come at you.

  8. Incarceration rate in MN per 100,000 is 4th lowest in the country, and all but one prison are 4-5 or more hours from me in southern MN. That one closest to me is a minimum security work camp (work release) 125 miles from me.

    But that is not my main worry. If SHTF, it doesn’t mean law abiding citizens or smaller offenders who spent time in the county jail won’t revert to criminal acts in your area, in fact I expect they will in mine.

    What concerns me the most is the current crime rate where you live, the county or nearest town/city crime rates. You can usually find this in a Real Estate guide on-line or It gives a prospective look of the particular types of crime per 1,000 residents and to prepare for what you can expect under NORMAL conditions. God forbid when SHTF!

      1. Yes, but then we have to review the article on what helps fuel stay viable longer. Just make the target dig his own “home” first.

  9. I’ve thought about this!!
    I am seriously hoping (wishfully thinking) that they have some sort of backup system in place to keep them in!!? EMP proof generator to keep electric locks working?!
    Ok, probably not. Um, manual locks? Ugh what a mess!

    1. As someone who works in the field, if the electric locks fail they do not unlock. You have to override them with a manual key. So the bottom line is an EMP would not release the lock if anything it might even fry the electronic locks shut preventing an override by manual means!!!

      1. @ Jon
        I will have to agree; of the jails/prisons I have been in (Building them not as a resident :-) ) the locks use power to “open” them NOT to keep them locked. If the prison loses power, ALL of the locks stay locked.

  10. My experience has me of the opinion that a minority of prisoners are really dangerous. The real danger lies in your own neighborhood!

    1. @ ChiefPontiac
      I would agree 100%, Neighbors, Friends, Disgruntled Family, EX-WIVES!!!! :-)

  11. Actually, I think the biggest regional risk to my safety are all the people who are behind the movement to build more prisons and keep them all full. I’m more concerned about government thugscrum, the politicians and the zombie sheeple who are running loose around me.

    They are more likely to try frame me or throw me into one of their prison camps, or summarily execute me, or charge me for being an enemy of the state just because I disagree with their tyrannical, regulatory, zero tolerance bullshit, or simply for endeavoring to be more prepared for more unrest than they are. I think most of the convicts are much less likely to bother me. They have more in common with most of us than one might think.

  12. There will be people that are evil/crazy but never “acted” on it. They will be the ones to try to seize the moment. They will be in the ones in the neighborhoods who already know who the weak are so they can prey on them.

    That’s why if you bug in, you really need to get to know your neighbors.

  13. The bad ones will stick together to prey on the good people. I can only hope that the good people in your area will stick together to defend there homes and town. In most rural areas there will be some type of law and order and justice will be swift. Just be ready to defend your family and property everyone should have a good firearm and know how to use it.

  14. On the prison front I’ve thought a lot about this. I have a major, minor, and juvenile facilities 5 miles from our house. There is talk but no proof that if there is an EMP event that the authorities have plans that will be in place. But one does ponder what the plans would be and do I have enough to protect my family.

  15. @ Ruthie
    “the wife slides a tablet with a pic of a roll of TP under the door.. LOL”
    I gata admit, that’s funny as all get out… ROFLMAO

    1. :) I’m glad you got a chuckle out of it too! .. ((I’d have posted the link if I knew how to find it, it was embedded and I’m not that tech savvy!)).. Definitely a priceless one :) lol

  16. I live about 30 miles from The Florence Supermax and only 35 miles from 7 state prisons in Canon City. Luckily, Colorado has a decent “Castle Law”. Makes you shudder when you look through the ‘resident list” at Florence.

  17. San Quentin, Folsom, pelican Bay, Treasure Island Susanville Corcoran, Vacaville, Chino, I think there are a couple more, not sure.

  18. I realize this is an old topic, but I have slightly different view on it than was presented or discussed. I’m in Texas about 15 miles from a decent sized prison with many more not terribly far away. What makes my view on this different is that I’m looking at the prison as place to establish a secure base after SHTF.

    I’m thinking that post SHTF most of the prisoners are either going to be dead in their cells or getting as far away from the prison as possible.

    Now, consider that a relatively small group of decently armed people could hold a prison against outside encroachment relatively easily. Most have everything you need. High fences, guard towers and hardened buildings. They also have many “rooms” to house those friendly to said group; as well as, kitchens and other facilities. A fair amount of green space inside the fenced area to start some small gardens that could easily be defended from the towers. Looking beyond those fences you generally have large open areas (because no one wants to build close to a prison) that would have to be crossed for any intruders to come after you.

    Feel free to poke holes in my argument, always looking for things I might not have thought of.

    1. I spent 5.5 years in a Federal Prison. I thought the same idea after watching the Walking Dear series, good place to make a stand? They had a few episodes that addressed the issue of using a prison to hold up in. Hollywood fiction I know. Truth is there will always be a group to want what you have. Also by the time you get there, there will not be a lot of supplies left if any so all you are talking about is the walls and the fence.

      I would rather build walls around a Wall Mart or Home Depot if I was to dig in.
      Most federal prisons are in remote areas. not near supply chains so that’s another con about the idea.

      1. Pretty much expecting that all the supplies would be gone. In my case the prison isn’t remote. About a five minute drive to the nearest Wal-Mart and home depot. The walls and fence are what I’m most interested in anyway. Doesn’t really matter if I have just a bug out bag full of food or trucks full. If I can’t defend it those supplies will be someone else’s anyway.

        There was a show on a few years ago that only lasted a couple of seasons called The Colony. It was about as close to the real thing as you can make it, and every time something really bad happened to them it was because of a lack of security or defensible location.

        Seems like as close to a modern castle as might be reasonable without going after a military installation (which even if not defended by the military would be a target for every gang or wanna be warlord). Most people I think would steer clear of a prison on superstition alone.

  19. There is a county jail and a minimal security prison 55 miles to the East of me in Apache County and 45 miles north of me another county jail in Navaho County and a few miles from there is the Winslow minimal security prison. Give a person a lot to think about. Growing up I lived close to Joliet, Illinois and they had Joliet Penitentaty and Statesville Penn and an Honor Farm withing 20 miles radious of our farm. But back in the 50’s and 60’s we were more worried about a Nuke strike than we were about escaped convicts, just saying.

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