Photograph:  Thomas “Terrible Tom” Silverstein Booking Photo – L.A. County Jail


Longtime Aryan Brotherhood member Thomas Edward “Terrible Tom” Silverstein passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2019.  Approximately three weeks ago, Tom developed pneumonia, was placed in a Lakewood, Colorado hospital and underwent multiple bypass heart surgery.  He reportedly developed sepsis, experienced kidney failure and was placed in intensive care.  His death was confirmed by a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman.  He was 67.

Born in Long Beach, California, “Terrible Tom” was well known in the prison underworld and was a legendary AB member who joined in San Quentin.  He served most of his prison time inside the BOP federal system.   Convicted of several brutal prison murders, including two inmates and one prison guard at Marion, Illinois, Terrible Tom had been housed in solitary confinement since October 23, 1983 – a period of nearly 36 years!  He was recently housed at the ADX Maximum Security Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado, considered the Alcatraz of the Rockies, where he spent the last 14 years.

On October 22, 1983, Tom slipped his cuffs and murdered Merle Clutts, a federal correctional officer.  A few hours later, another inmate also removed his cuffs in a similar fashion and killed a second officer.  These two brutal killings prompted the Bureau of Prisons to reassess its handling of hardcore prisoners like the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia prison gang members.  This led to the construction of ADX.

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