Friday 15 February 2019

Inside El Chapo's cell.

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It’s been described as a “high-tech version of hell" and it holds some of the nation’s most dangerous criminals – including, maybe soon, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
The federal government’s ADX "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, is “the prison of all prisons,” said Louisiana State Penitentiary maximum-security warden Burl Cain. 
It makes sense that a drug lord who's already escaped two high-security Mexican prisons would be sent there. In 2001, Guzman bribed his way out of prison in a laundry basket. In 2015, he escaped out of another penitentiary in a movie-style jailbreak: crawling into a hatch beneath his shower and hopping on a waiting motorcycle through a tunnel dug underground. 
Federal authorities haven't confirmed exactly where Guzman will be held, but U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said Thursday that Guzman faces "a sentence from which there is no escape and no return." 
Here's what you should know about his possible new home:
This photo taken on February 13, 2019 shows a view of the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility, also known as the ADX or "Supermax", in Florence, Colorado.
Jason Connolly, AFP/Getty Images

How secure is it?

The prison, also called the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," is surrounded by razor-wire fences, gun towers, heavily-armed patrols and attack dogs. Snipers guard the grounds in gun towers. No inmate has ever escaped the prison. 
More: 'El Chapo' escaped from two prisons. This time, he’s probably headed to the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'
This Feb. 11, 2004, file photo provided by the Bureau of Prisons shows the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colo. This shows the minimum security Federal Prison Camp, the high security United States Penitentiary, the maximum security United States Penitentiary and the Federal Correctional Institution.
Kevin Kreck, AP

What's a prisoner's day like?

Inmates spend about 23 hours of every day in solitary confinement inside a 12-by-7-foot cell made of concrete with a small window. The room is designed so that inmates cannot have contact with others or much of the outside world. 
"You're designing it so the inmates can't see the sky. Intentionally," former Supermax prison warden Robert Hood told CNN. "You're putting up wires so helicopters can't land."
Each cell contains a toilet, shower and bed (a concrete slab with a thin mattress). Meals are slid through openings in the doors.
“This place is not designed for humanity ... It’s not designed for rehabilitation," Hood told The New York Times. 
In this 1994 file photo, federal corrections officer William Brown stands in the doorway of a typical cell in a general population unit at the US Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Security facility in Florence, Colo.
Mark Reis, AP
An hour of outdoor time for inmates placed in restraints is allowed some days inside a cage slightly larger than the cells. Travis Dusenbury, who spent 10 years locked up in the prison, told Vice that that was the only contact he had with people, if his neighbor's schedule lined up with his.
"The closest human contact you could get was what we called 'finger handshakes' through the fence," Dusenbury said.

Notorious criminals who are there

  • Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who is serving a life sentence for a series of mostly mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 others over 17 years. 
  • Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces a death sentence after setting off bombs near Boston Marathon's finish line in 2013, where three people died and more than 250 people were injured. He has been convicted of 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence for conspiring with hijackers to kill Americans. 
  • Shoe bomber Richard Reid, who is serving a life sentence for charges including use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of aircraft passengers and attempted homicide of U.S. nationals overseas.
  • Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols is serving a life sentence for planting a bomb that killed 168 people in an Oklahoma City federal building. 
  • Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, who is serving life sentences for a series of bombings including one at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta that killed two people and injured more than 100.  
USA Today

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