Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Article Explores "America's Toughest Federal Prison"

The New York Times has an interesting article examining the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, known as the ADX.  As noted in the article, the prison houses many infamous criminals, including Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Yousef, and Terry Nichols.  Little is known about the facility and its operation.  Using interviews with former inmates at the ADX, information obtained as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the facility, and other sources, the article offers readers a glimpse inside.
The ADX can house up to 500 prisoners in its eight units. Inmates spend their days in 12-by-7-foot cells with thick concrete walls and double sets of sliding metal doors (with solid exteriors, so prisoners can’t see one another). A single window, about three feet high but only four inches wide, offers a notched glimpse of sky and little else. Each cell has a sink-toilet combo and an automated shower, and prisoners sleep on concrete slabs topped with thin mattresses. Most cells also have televisions (with built-in radios), and inmates have access to books and periodicals, as well as certain arts-and-craft materials. Prisoners in the general population are allotted a maximum of 10 hours of exercise a week outside their cells, alternating between solo trips to an indoor “gym” (a windowless cell with a single chin-up bar) and group visits to the outdoor rec yard (where each prisoner nonetheless remains confined to an individual cage). All meals come through slots in the interior door, as does any face-to-face human interaction (with a guard or psychiatrist, chaplain or imam). The Amnesty report said that ADX prisoners “routinely go days with only a few words spoken to them.”
The entire article is available here.