October 22 - 1983 - The Murder of Two Corrections Officers at USP Marion
The United States Federal Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, was specifically designed to house the worst of the worst, mostly being populated at its opening by transferred inmates from the recently closed Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The idea was that prisoners would by in isolated units where they would have limited contact with other prisoners or the outside world. Yet by the early 1980s, USP Marion was dominated by prison gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood and the DC Blacks. In 1981, Thomas Silverstein, an Aryan Brotherhood member, stabbed an inmate named Robert Chappelle, a member of the DC Blacks. Then the leader of the DC Blacks, Cadillac Smith, was transferred to Marion, where he was killed by Silverstein and fellow Aryan Brotherhood member Clayton Fountain. Then, in October of 1983, Silverstein and Fountain managed to each, independently and just hours apart, get loose of their handcuffs and stab a prison guard. Silverstein killed officer Merle Clutts; Fountain killed officer Robert Hoffman. The deaths of Clutts and Hoffman prompted the Federal Bureau of Prisons to create the Supermax Prison at Florence, Colorado, changing the nature of maximum security in American prisons.