The US Federal correctional facility in Florence, Colorado, is the ultimate in maximum security - it is known as Supermax! It is the legion of the damned!
The 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui faces the rest of his life there after the federal jury rejected the death penalty - he faces a fate worse than death.A prison expert looked straight at jurors during the trial and told them what punishment awaited Moussaoui at Supermax, " I have seen them rot," he said. " They rot!"
Perhaps a death sentence may prove preferable for the convicted terrorist.It will certainly send a message to others facing prosecution in future.
It was reported in the media recently that Moussaoui will spend every day of the rest of his life alone in a soundproof cell as small as 2 metres by 3.5 metres, with a concrete poured desk,bed,and stool, and a small shower with a timer. In the cell is a toilet that stops flushing if it becomes blocked. There is a small black and white television that offers religious and anger management programmes only.
There is a small triangular recreation area, known as "the dog run", where solitary Supermax prisoners can occasionally get a glimpse of the sky.
Life is harsh. Food is delivered through a slit in the cell door.Prisoners do not leave their cell to see a lawyer, doctor or prison official; those visitors must come to the cell.
There are 1400 remote controlled steel doors. Motion detectors and hidden cameras monitor every move. The prison walls and razor wired grounds are patrolled by laser beams and dogs.
Prisoners can earn extra privileges like a wider variety of television offerings, more exercise time and visitation rights,based on their behaviour.
The facility now houses 400 inmates,with further room for another 90 inmates.There is a veritable" bombers" row with a number of infamous convicts there.
There is obviously no pretence at preparing prisoners for a return to society - most won't be returning in any case - they are there not just for punishment but for total incapacitation!
Inmates are constantly monitored 24/7; it was described like being in a tomb.A convicted spy who was incarcerated there described his sentence with no regret," You're slowly hung,you're ground down.You can barely retain your sanity," he said.
It has been described by a defence lawyer as extraordinary draconian punishment.Moussaoui may be a household name today,but in twenty years from now,people will have forgotten him.He will sit there all alone,and all forgotten.He will become a veritable non-person!
Another defence lawyer described prisoners rotting inside the facility's walls, as being too kind,as rotting implies a slow, gradual disintigration.Supermax is worse, as it is designed to just grind you down and break you. The ultimate in society's revenge!
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