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Old 10-01-2007, 10:59 AM
Archie999 Archie999 is offline
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Default FCI Lompoc LOW

FCI Lompoc Low


Located near Santa Maria, CA on a breezy southern Pacific peninsula adjacent to the Vandenberg Airforce Base, The Lompoc Federal prison complex maintains a Medium/High security compound referred to as the “New Rock”, a Low security compound and an ancillary out-custody satellite camp. The three different compounds are all physically separated from each other. There is no mixing of populations between the three facilities.

The Low security compound at FCI Lompoc houses about 1,000 inmates in four separate housing units. Inmate population at the Low security compound is comprised of: 65% Spanish, 15% Black, 10% White and 10% Pacific Islander or other mixed races. Lompoc Low maintains controlled movements Monday through Friday and an open campus on weekends. The Spanish control the yard with their overwhelming numbers. The following narrative is based on my recent 2007 experience at the Low security compound only.


Located on an elbow peninsula in southern California, morning weather in Lompoc is generally cool, breezy, damp, foggy and overcast. Average morning temperatures range from 50 – 60 degrees under cloudy skies although the climate plummets during the winter months. After the morning fog burns off, average daily temperatures range from 75 – 90 degrees under bright sunny skies with cooler temperatures in the winter months. Overall, the weather is pleasant with no humidity however it can at times be overly chilly and breezy given proximity to the ocean.


A-Unit: Very old three story building without air-conditioning. A-Unit contains the following:
  • Three TV rooms in the basement - one each for blacks, Spanish & whites
  • Laundry in the basement – waiting lines for washers & dryers = 15 to 20 bags, 1 – 2 hours at any given time. It is well worth it to hire someone to do your laundry for $10 per month.
  • Staff offices in the basement
  • Health services on first floor
  • Second floor contains open bay (ie: locker/bed, locker/bed – no cubicles) living quarters at both ends of the floor. The middle of the floor contains eight-man rooms, TV & microwave rooms and two bathrooms each with five showers, five toilets, four urinals and six sinks. Waiting lines for toilets and showers are common.
  • Third floor is identical to second floor.

B-Unit: Almost identical to A-Unit with open bay living quarters and eight-man rooms on floors 1-3 with TV & laundry in the basement. No air-conditioning.

K-Unit: Single story, more modern building with open bay living quarters and no air-conditioning.

J-Unit: Single story, more modern building with open bay living quarters and no air-conditioning. J-Unit houses inmates enrolled in the Residential Drug Assistance Program (RDAP).

Inner Compound: Outdoor open area with telephones, card tables and four TV’s under a roofed pavilion.


Food is good with baked or BBQ chicken and hamburgers once per week. Breakfast is usually the worst meal of the day commonly consisting of dry cereal, boiled eggs, grits and toast. Commissary is good with a wide variety of foods, beverages and necessities. NO tobacco.


Lompoc Low maintains a UNICOR Prison Industries Sign Factory. As of 2007, there is a two year waiting list for new inmates seeking UNICOR work with UNICOR pay. Inmates with previous UNICOR experience are generally expedited ahead of new inmates.


There is a scarcity of work at Lompoc Low. There are too many inmates and too little work. All inmates are assigned employment 7 hours per day but that job may require only five minutes of actual work. Most inmates listen to their radios or play cards while at work. Compound Maintenance Services (CMS) and Food Service are the largest work groups.


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains an Immigration & Naturalization Services (INS) center and court at the Low. Inmates with US residency issues are processed weekly at the INS center.


Religious services are offered weekly in a beautiful chapel containing cathedral ceilings and stained glass windows. The church is stunning for a prison chapel.


Lompoc Low maintains the best recreational facilities I have seen during my tenure in the BOP and include the following:

Outdoor Facilities: Free-weights & nautilis equipment !!!!!!! Lompoc Low is one of the few institutions in the BOP that still has weights. Outdoor facilities also include softball fields, soccer fields, tennis, basketball, running track, racquetball (very popular), horseshoes and bocce.

Indoor Facilities: Indoor gymnasium, basketball court, exercise bicycles, pool tables, music room with acoustic & electric guitars and drums available for inmates, audio-visual room with CD’s and CD players also available for inmates


The library contains a fair collection of leisure reading materials, books, magazines, newspapers, typewriters and legal resources. Inmate legal clerks provide guidance in the library but most legal work must be done by inmates themselves.

The Low maintains a mandatory GED program for inmates without High School diplomas. Inmates serve as teachers and instructors in the GED program. College correspondence and college degree courses are offered but inmates are responsible for all tuition, fees, books and expenses unless a tuition waiver can be obtained. As of 2007, staff did not allow inmates to receive many of the required college textbooks.


There is no alcohol or drugs at the Low and only a little smuggled tobacco. Prison tattoos provided with beard trimmer motors, metal guitar string needles and homemade ink are very popular.


Violence is common at Lompoc Low with monthly and weekly fist-fights between clashing inmates. Like many other federal prisons, violence is not random but rather retaliatory for violations of the informal, unspoken inmate code-of-conduct.


Lompoc Low is a good place to do federal time IF you can keep yourself busy with recreational activities such as weightlifting and racquetball. It is impossible to stay busy at Lompoc Low by only working a daily job and watching TV. The different races co-habit well however the Spanish control the compound with their majority population. The Spanish are political but ultimately very practical and reasonable. There is nothing they won't barter or bargain for.
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